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Gitanjali (Song Offerings)

Ranee Ramaswamy performing "Gitanjali" at the Flea Theater in New York City in June 2006.

Settings of James Moore's "Writing with Tagore" for Soprano and String Quartet with optional South Indian dance.

I. My life has been one long secret
II. We were in a hurry
III. It is dawn for one last time

Instrumentation: Soprano and String Quartet (South Indian Dance optional)

Duration: 13 min.

View the full text of this piece

Premiere: Nancy Ogle, Sirius String Quartet, Ranee Ramaswamy Flea Theater, NYC (2005)


Writing with Tagore


My life has been one long secret,
all of it flowing towards you:
lost hopes, hidden love, everything
a way to whisper in your ear.
Whatever else you are,
you are also the coolness of that dust
which lies quietly under the long shadows
of my small hedge.
One final look from you
and I'll be gone.
Like a bride,
I will leave my home and meet you,
alone, in the huge solitude of night.


We were in a hurry this morning
and none of us spoke.
When we came to the river,
I lay down. It was so hot,
I couldn't move another step.
The others never looked back.
They vanished in the distance,
disappearing into a blue haze.
What sights they saw!
And what honor they deserve,
those who followed the interminable path.
I tried to leave the shade of the river,
but could not rise from under the tree
of my cool delight.
I surrendered without struggle
to the sweet maze of shadows and dreams.
When I finally woke,
you were there by the river,
standing next to me.
How afraid I'd been
that I'd missed you altogether,
that the path to you
had to be long and dangerous,
filled with unending struggle.


It is dawn
for one last time, my friends,
and the light that leads away from you
is very beautiful.
We have lived near one another for so long.
There is nothing I need
and at long last there is nothing I fear.
Wish me luck, my friends.
Many times we have stood together,
lingering over our goodnights.
And didn't we find it sweet,
speaking in low voices
of the day to come,
so as not to wake the children?

James Moore, 2003
The Press at Colorado College
Reprinted by permission.

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