for SATB (8-part) (2017)


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by Michael Gilbertson


SKU: MG-CR005 Category: Tags: ,




8 min


12/15/2017, The Crossing (cond. Donald Nally), Philadelphia, PA


Commissioned for The Crossing by Steven Hyder and Donald Nally, in memory of Margaret Martindale Nally (June 14, 1926 - December 31, 2016).




Wisława Szymborska : No End of Fun
Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh : translators

Program Notes

On the 2023 GRAMMY-winning album Born: Music of Edie Hill & Michael Gilbertson, for Best Choral Performance, Donald Nally, conductor (Dominic German, Maren Montalbano, Rebecca Myers & James Reese; The Crossing)


So this is his mother.
This small woman.
The gray-eyed procreator.

The boat in which, years ago,
he sailed to shore.

The boat from which he stepped
into the world,
into un-eternity.

Genetrix of the man
with whom I leap through fire.

So this is she, the only one
who didn’t take him
finished and complete.

She herself pulled him
into the skin I know,
bound him to the bones
that are hidden from me.

She herself raised
the gray eyes
that he raised to me.

So this is she, his Alpha.
Why has he shown her to me.

So he was born, too.
Born like everyone else.
Like me, who will die.

The son of an actual woman.
A new arrival from the body’s depths.
A voyager to Omega

Subject to
his own absence,
on every front,
at any moment.

He hits his head
against a wall
that won’t give way forever.

His movements
dodge and parry
the universal verdict.

I realized
that his journey was already halfway over.

But he didn’t tell me that,

“This is my mother.”
was all he said.