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Psalm of the Distant Dove
Canticle in Homage to Sephardi Culture

 
 
 
 
 
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English

PSALM OF THE DISTANT DOVE

Sung in English

PRELUDE: MY LOVER CALLED
Song of Songs 2:10

My lover called: rise up my love, rise up my love and come with me.
Rise up my love and come with me.
The rains have passed, the trees are in bud, the doves have come again, the doves have come again!

DAYS OF COLD ARE PAST
Shmuel Hannagid

Days of cold are past, and spring has buried winter’s rain.
Doves are sighted in the land, flocking to every bough.

O friends, be true.
Come quickly, do not fail a friend.
Come into my garden: there pluck the rose.

There, amid the buds and birds that flock to sing the summer’s praise, drink with me, drink with me wine, red as the blush on lovers’ cheeks, wine, red as the tears for friends that are gone.

THE DOVE KNOWS HER MATE
Midrash Raba, Song of Songs 1:15

The dove knows her mate and never changes him for another.
Israel knows God as her mate forever.

DISTANT DOVE
Yehuda Halevi

Distant dove wandered to a wood, stumbled there and lay lame, flitted, flailed, and flustered, circling her love’s head.

Her lover hurt her, left her; she might have died.
She swore she’d never breathe his name again—
But in her heart it burned like fire.

Why so hostile to her?
Her mouth is ever open to your rain.
She keeps her faith, does not despair.
Whether in Your name her lot is shame or glory.
Come God now, and come not softly but raging mid storms and wild flames.

ELEGY
In memoriam W. S., Feb. 15, 1992
Solo piano

PRELUDE: BIRDS STRUGGLE
Midrash Raba, Song of Songs 1:15

Birds struggle in the hands of the slaughterer, but the dove puts out its neck to be slaughtered.
Like Israel, as it is written for your sake.
We are slaughtered all the day.

AVI, AVI (MY FATHER, MY FATHER)
Anonymous

O God, how long will You leave Your dove, will You leave Your dove in the trap, in the snare—there to remain far from her young, crying, “My father, my father!”

Your dove wandered away from her nest in the frost of the night, in the heat of the day.
She shudders to think of the steel of the sword, of the lion’s fang.
You left her, God, in the hands of the beast.
He parted her neck bone; he fed on her throat.

Summers and winters have come and gone.
I bend to his yoke.
If only she could have the eagle’s wing to fly over mountains, to soar over hills, to come with her love to his chamber alone, I would forget my pain.