The Music of Elizabeth Alexander

Even a Fist Was Once an Open Palm

A tender vision of the possibility and promise of peace

Music: Elizabeth Alexander

Words: Yehuda Amichai

A powerful, multi-layered setting of Yehuda Amichai’s poetic meditation on peace after conflict, reminding us to return to the openness that makes trust possible.

Details and Ordering Information

Tell me more


Excerpt from Anniversaries of War

Remember: even the departure to terrible battles
passes by gardens and windows
and children playing, a dog barking.

Remind the fallen fruit
of its leaves and branches,
remind the sharp thorns
how soft and green they were in springtime,
and do not forget,
even a fist
was once an open palm and fingers.

Poem by Yehuda Amichai
English translation by Barbara and Benjamin Harshav
© 1991 by Harper Perennial. From Even a Fist Was Once an Open Palm and Fingers. Reprinted by permission of Hana Amichai



Premiere: University of Minnesota Chamber Singers / Thomas Lancaster, conductor (Minneapolis, MN)
Portara / Jason Shelton (Nashville, TN)
Spiritus Chamber Choir / Janet Youngdahl (Calgary, Alberta, CANADA)
William Ferris Chorale / Carling Fitzsimmons (Chicago, IL)