The Boswell Songs

The Boswell Songs
Dan Locklair

The Boswell Songs are dedicated to the American soprano, Louise Wohlafka, for whom is has been my good fortune and delight to write for on a number of occasions in the past.

I am indebted to British poet, writer and actor, Stephen Boswell, for introducing me to his poetry and permitting me to make use of it in this song cycle. Without his lyrical words, this cycle would not know life.

Timings :

1. Scarecrow’s Song ca. 2’ 40”
2. The Abandoned Labyrinth ca. 1’ 10”
3. Soprano in the Ballroom ca. 3’ 15”
4. Grace Note ca. 2’ 25”
Approximate total duration ca. 9′ 30”

Dan Locklair
July 1987
Winston-Salem, NC

1.Scarecrow’s Song

my heart like
a haystack soaks
up the sun
that blossoms
the sky the beetle-backed earth
begins to cast its
slough snowdrops melt
in icicle clumps
round trees and cottage
paths the crocus from
its bed of lichen
wriggles its roots in
the pearly grass
the copper woods ring their
peals of song while
the hare ransacks his startled
wits and rummages in
his attic fields
that fits

2.The Abandoned Labyrinth

Horsehair and catgut
Tug at a tune
Leaving my heart
To find its own way
Through memory’s abandoned
3. Soprano in the Ballroom

rain is pummelling the lawn
the rich green grass
is black and blue
cows congregate
beneath the guttering of trees
and shouldering the water
they ignore the parade
of motorcars that churn
silver channels down the drive
to the gravel
where the house is

in the orangery
the antique air
has fossilized the guests
who stand in the tank-light
in evening dress
as the rain drops in
to plop between cocktails

somewhere a bowl of pot-pourri
flowers for a second
exuding lilac, lavender
and box-room must
so elusive
that the ghost in the memory sighs
to be set free
and walk again familiar rooms

in the ballroom dim with chandeliers
a soprano sings sad autumn songs
and critics scribble notes

4. Grace Note

the blackbird sparks
the airs of
minstreling its court
of sky as
the day’s landscape
moves to the fire
while the pendulum
slows between care
and care
from the bird’s benediction
the night’s

Poems by Stephen Boswell,
Ipswich, Suffolk
All rights reserved.
But the simple glory
Of a line of melody
Eyes blind to all