Saturday, January 26, 2013

Requiem for Better Angels: We on Earth below

I wrote the first draft of this text following the attacks on New York's World Trade Center in 2001, in memory of the service men and women who chose to run into destruction as thousands of victims tried to escape it. Among the dead were 344 firefighters, 60 police officers, and two paramedics. Remember them.

I would like to see this text set by a composer as a Requiem for chorus and orchestra.

I cannot count the many who will weep,
In mourning they outnumber even all the stars. 
(Requiem aeternam dona eis)
We cannot laugh,
But for our memories smile while you may sleep.
(Et lux perpetua luceat eis)

You were as we imperfect,
But as near to heaven as any can see;
In such endless night we hear
Now there is silence, but will not always be.
(Eleison, eleison, eleison)
From above may mercy on us fall,
Of graces you had given and received
So will your history and remembrance all -
passion and compassion, still
the ever balance of your flaw and gift.
(Dona eis requiem, sempiternam)

Lux aeterna
How do we turn now earthward?
(Lux aterna luceat eis)
How can we not watch the skies?
(Requiem aetarnam dona eis)
For any star might be your light,
 (Et lux perpetua luceat eis)
And every wind your voice,
(Exaudi orationem meam)
So we on earth below may keep you still,
(Requiem aeternam dona eis)
And still we keep, on earth below.

Eleison, eleison, eleison.


Eternal rest give unto them,
And let perpetual light shine upon them.
Have mercy on us.
Grant them eternal rest.
Let everlasting light shine on them.
Eternal rest give unto them,
And perpetual light shine on them.
Hear my prayer,
Eternal rest give unto them,
Have mercy on us.

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