I Leave, She Stays

I Leave, She Stays (2011)

SATB a cappella
Commissioned by the 2011-2012 Hopkins High School Concert Choir,
Mr. Philip Brown, conductor

Secular

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Text:

As we walked homeward across the fields, the sun dropped low and lay like a great golden globe in the west. We reached the edge of the field, where our ways parted. I took her hands and held them against my breast, feeling once more how strong and warm and good they were. I held them now a long while, over my heart. About us it was growing darker and darker, and I had to look hard to see her face, her face, which I meant always to carry with me; the closest, realest face, under all the shadows of women’s faces, at the very bottom of my memory.

“I’ll come back,” I said earnestly, through the soft, intrusive darkness.

“Perhaps you will” – I felt rather than saw her smile. “But even if you don’t, you’re here. So I won’t be lonesome.”

As I went back alone over that familiar road, I could almost believe that a boy and girl ran along beside me, as our shadows used to do, laughing and whispering to each other in the grass.

- Willa Cather, from My Antonia