Skip to Content Skip to Navigation

Jim Clark: Music

Monochord

(Jim Clark)
November 22, 2010
Words: Byron Herbert Reece/Music: Jim Clark

This modified Petrarchan sonnet is most likely Reece's reaction to the global chaos surrounding WWII; he did write a handful of poems explicitly about the war.  He tried to enlist and was disappointed by his deferment.  Setting a Petrarchan sonnet to music was, for me, a particularly interesting exercise.

Monochord

 

 

Trouble, I heard the wind say to the tree,

Trouble and death and a red tide of blood;

Trouble, O trouble by the surging sea,

Trouble and anguish in the silent wood.

Trouble, the wind said, blood upon the wheat;

Sorrow, it said, death in the narrow sky;

Horror, it said, given as bread to eat

Unto the young that they may ail and die.

 

Tidings of terror like a brazen horn,

Blood on the waters where the hosts are slain;

Trouble, the wind said moving in the corn,

Trouble, O trouble on the heaving plain;

Trouble and death the day that man was born

—How shall the earth be free of him again!