POEMS OF MARGARET PROCTOR WOOD
(2000), PIANO-SOPRANO VERSION

I. MASSACHUSETTS
00:00 / 03:43
II. FLICKERS
00:00 / 01:10
III. OCTOBER 9, 1943
00:00 / 02:04
IV. FOR EARLY DISIPLINE
00:00 / 01:37
V. GRANDMOTHER'S ROSE
00:00 / 01:28
VI. TRUTH
00:00 / 01:33
VII. WOMAN IN THE MOON
00:00 / 02:18
VIII. I SIMPLY HAVE TO SKIP TODAY
00:00 / 00:26
IX. MY CHECKBOOK
00:00 / 00:54
X. THE BIG FIELD
00:00 / 03:55
XI. MASSACHUSETTS (REPRISE)
00:00 / 02:03

Kay Lowe, soprano, Scott Tilley, piano

Lyrics (the poems)

 

I. Massachusetts
Rough are the waters that froth on thy coast line,
Jagged the rocks that protect thee from harm.
Sweet are thy vallies, majestic thy mountains,
Lovely the vistas from upland and farm.

Peaceful the fields where the elm trees are drooping,
Straight are the firs marching down to the sea.

Yellow and red are the maples in door yards,
Sheltering families gone and to be.

Old Massachusetts, we love and revere thee.
Help us to build on thy past and to be.
People devoted to things of the spirit.
Make us unselfish, high hearted and free.

White churches lifting their steeples to heaven,
School houses opening doors of the mind,
Town halls where common folk gather for parley, --
Roads bind together, a pattern to find.

Men whose strong hearts have beat true to the Union;
Women whose lives are a lovely bequest;
Poets and statesmen, school masters and farmers,
Gave and are giving to thee of their best.

Old Massachusetts, we love and revere thee.
Help us to build on thy past and to be
People devoted to things of the spirit.
Make us unselfish, high hearted and free.

Make us unselfish, high hearted and free.

II.  Flickers

The flickers are flicking this morning,
The sky is robin's egg blue,
Why do I have a job today?
I'd like to flicker too!

I'm flickering high. (Not in original poem)
I'm flickering low.

The flickers are flicking this morning,
The sky is robin's egg blue,
Why do I have a job today?
I'd like to flicker too!

III. October 9, 1943

The yellow leaves drift through the golden air
Making a sound like ghost treads in the grasses.
One pauses in its downward flight
To brush my cheek as it passes.
'Tis as if my mother reached her hand from Heaven
In the old fond caress she used when I was seven.

The yellow leaves drift through the golden air...

IV.  For Early Discipline

Carol and Edna had tantrums.
They bellowed, they raged and they roared.
Mother and father did nothing.
Their offspring were spoiled and adored.


Edna wept five or six inches,
'Till everything wallowed and streamed.
Each child blew up and exploded
But mother and father just beamed.

They smashed all the glass in the windows,
They yammered and yowled a la Hun,
While Carol chewed into the shingles
Edna churned up sheds for fun.


Carol threw trees with a wallop.
Edna flounced round and came back.
Each should have been trounced in her cradle,
And given one whale of a smack.

V. Grandmother's Rose

Here's a root of Grandma's rose for you,
That she set in its place beside the door
When she came as a bride to this old house
A hundred years ago and more.

Symbol of love that is deep and strong;
Of growth that flows from root to flower.
Help our need for wisdom that blooms in lives
Of sweetness, patience, truth and power.

Here's a root of Grandma's rose for you.

VI.  Truth

In spite of war, dead men and plotting lies,
Truth is still truth, and always will be so.

No one can change eternal verities
By mere repeating that they are not true.

There still is justice.
There still is justice, though the fields be red.


With blood of all our best beloved ones,
Right can not die, though wrong should seem to win.

God still is there,
With healing for his sons.

VII. The Battle of the Moon

Oh, woman in the moon,
Veil your face!
How can you light them to their death,
Those boys from distant lands who race
The skies, in the wind of your fatal breath?

Oh, woman in the moon,
Dim your light!
The youth of the world is passing by,
Absorbed in its struggle with death in the night.
They shudder at your wan face in the sky.

Oh, woman in the moon,
Where is your heart?
They are caught in the frightful trap of hate,
They are blind from smoke they rise and dart.

Turn your face; the hour grows late.

VIII.  I Simply have to Skip Today

I simply have to skip today.
I really don't know why.
The wind is in the West,
And there's a white cloud floating by.

IX.  My Check-book

My check-book waits for me each month
Like a monster on the prowl.
When I forget the service charge
If only it would howl!

But no.  It always waits until
I've made a mess complete,
And only then it murmurs
In accents low and sweet:

Whoa! (Not in original poem)

"Subtract or add, add or subtract,
Addition or subtraction.

Subtract or add, now which my dear,
Will give you satisfaction"?

Your word is wrong my crafty friend.
You mean the word distraction.

X. The Big Field

Three windows of this many eyed old house
Look out upon a sweep of open field.
Its acres stretch as far as one can see,
A restful space, with naught of man revealed.

No huddled little houses break its line
The trees upon its bound untroubled stand.
None but the woodchucks and the pheasants know
The peace and plenty of this pleasant land.

And when the reapers come to claim its hoard
Of rich and fragrant treasure, freely given,
When all lies bundled for the waiting barn,
The gulls fly in from the tide water driven
By instinct for good food and room to land.


No sooner reaped, the field again reverts
To willing effort to grow green again.

A busy field, it harbors no regret,
Is thankful only for God's sun and rain.

Green field, teach me to live abundantly
To spend my days like you, as fruitfully.

XI.  Massachusetts (Reprise)

Rough are the waters that froth on thy coast line,
Jagged the rocks that protect thee from harm.
Sweet are thy vallies, majestic thy mountains,
Lovely the vistas from upland and farm.

Peaceful the fields where the elm trees are drooping,
Straight are the firs marching down to the sea.
Yellow and red are the maples in door yards,
Sheltering families gone and to be.

Old Massachusetts, we love and revere thee.
Help us to build on thy past and to be
People devoted to things of the spirit.
Make us unselfish, high hearted and free.

Make us unselfish, high hearted and free.