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The cry of the peacocks


Upcoming concerts: Nederlands Kamerkoor dir. Klaas Stok, six concerts in December 2005 (for dates see Concerts).

'The cry of the peacocks' was written for the 3rd International Choral Biennale Haarlem 2005 for the Nederlands Kamerkoor, commisioned by the Fonds voor de Scheppende Toonkunst. The work is based on the poem "Domination of Black" by Wallace Stevens.


Domination of Black


At night, by the fire,
The colors of the bushes
And of the fallen leaves,
Repeating themselves,
Turned in the room,
Like the leaves themselves
Turning in the wind.
Yes: but the color of the heavy hemlocks
Came striding.
And I remembered the cry of the peacocks.

The colors of their tails
Were like the leaves themselves
Turning in the wind,
In the twilight wind.
They swept over the room,
Just as they flew from the boughs of the hemlocks
Down to the ground.
I heard them cry - the peacocks.
Was it a cry against the twilight
Or against the leaves themselves
Turning in the wind,
Turning as the flames
Turned in the fire,
Turning as the tails of the peacocks
Turned in the loud fire,
Loud as the hemlocks
Full of the cry of the peacocks?
Or was it a cry against the hemlocks?

Out of the window,
I saw how the planets gathered
Like the leaves themselves
Turning in the wind.
I saw how the night came,
Came striding like the color of the heavy hemlocks
I felt afraid.
And I remembered the cry of the peacocks.


From: the collected poems of Wallace Stevens. (publ. Alfred A. Knopf, New York)