The Music of Elizabeth Alexander

Even a Fist Was Once an Open Palm

A tender vision of the possibility and promise of peace

Words by 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.

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Text

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

Performers

Performers

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)