The Music of Elizabeth Alexander

I Write This Poem Out Of Darkness

A solitary poet offers unvarnished compassion and solidarity to her imagined readers

Music: Elizabeth Alexander

Words: George Ella Lyon

In George Ella Lyon’s poem, “Growing Light,” an isolated poet reaches out to an imagined reader, offering encouragement and solidarity. This expressive musical setting reflects this sense of solitude and strength, featuring prominent vocal and instrumental solos. A moving musical testimony to art’s ability to speak the truth, transcending the limitations of time and space.

All three instrumentalists are prominent players in the drama of this piece, from the quiet passion of the violinist’s first note to its final ethereal echoes. The instrumental parts for the chamber version of this piece are the same as those for the choral version.

Details and Ordering Information

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Growing Light

I write this poem
out of darkness
to you
who are also in darkness
because our lives demand it.

This poem is a hand on your shoulder
a bone touch to go with you
through the hard birth of vision.
In other words, love
shapes this poem
is the fist that holds the chisel,
muscle that drags marble
and burns with the weight
of believing a face
lives in the stone
a breathing word in the body.

I tell you
though the darkness
has been ours
words will give us
give our eyes, opened in promise
a growing light.

George Ella Lyon
© 1994 by George Ella Lyon



Vocal Trio
Premiere: Women’s Works: Kristin Park, Carol Buckley, Jayne Demakos (Ithaca, NY)
Ann Tedards, Elizabeth Wood, and Giselle Wyers / J Michele Edwards. (Boise, ID)
Lynnéa Bartel Nickel, Emily Oickle, Ruch Wong-Miller and Annika Hanson / Erin Craig (Edmonton, AB CANADA)
Women’s Works: Kristin Park, Carol Buckley, Jayne Demakos (Aurora and Ithaca, NY)

SSA choir
Premiere: Jezic Ensemble / Margie Farmer (Baltimore, MD)
Mixed Voices of Edmondton’s Choral Community / Erin Craig. Masters Graduation Recital (Edmonton, AL CANADA)