“Yellow the wet wild strawberry leaves”

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The title of this post is from William Butler Yeats poem “The Falling of the Leaves.”

I’m familiar with the piece after recording my one and only album in the mid 1990’s; a masterful art song cycle composed by John Aschenbrenner entitled “To An Isle in the Water: The Poetry of William Butler Yeats.”

The work was produced by the Grammy Award winner Thomas E. Shepard, and getting it recorded was a monumental task. None of it would have been possible had it not been for the financial backing and support of an Albuquerque, New Mexico friend Dr. Chris Sholer, and of course the hard work of the remarkable orchestrator Joe Castellon, and my husband who both helped make the dream come true.

We all knew it would never end up on Billboards Top Ten, or even receive much recognition in an industry immersed in Pop culture. Who would ever listen to poetry orchestrally surrounded in an ethereal setting? So why did we go through with the agony and the ecstasy? Simple, we LOVED it and I still do!

Sometimes I find myself singing snippets of the work, and with Autumn fast approaching; this particular poem came into my head “yellow the wet wild strawberry leaves. The hour of waning of love has beset us, and weary and worn are our sad souls now; let us part ere the season of passion forget us, with a kiss and a tear on thy drooping brow.”

This passage makes me ponder so many things. The first to come into mind is the sixteenth Anniversary of 9/11 which will be memorialized tomorrow at Ground Zero. I’m here in New York City and the weather will be very similar to what it was the morning of September 11th, 2001 when America’s psyche was changed forever.

My husband and I had an emotional visit in April, 2016 and this photo he took of the Freedom Tower truly stands as a symbol of what the human Spirit can achieve; literally rising from the ashes of an epic tragedy.

I have also been thinking of my life and realize that I have done pretty well over all. I must remind myself that It is imperative to never fret over the inconsequential things when larger concerns should always take precedence…like being alive!

This from Yeat’s Ephemera…“how far away the stars seem, and how far is our first kiss, and ah….how old my heart”.

I can’t believe it has been three years this last week since I dropped dead, and I can indeed say “how old my heart”! It is a miracle how medical technology has enabled me to continue to experience both the joys and sorrows of life.

“Isle” was truly one of my proudest achievements and (other than my pacemaker) getting to record it on my Birthday all those many years ago was one of the best gifts I ever received!

I’ve always hoped that three hundred years from now (if we haven’t blown each other up) that someone will re-discover our little digital creation, and be touched in their collective souls. Maybe they’ll introduce it to another group of souls and so on and so on and so on…………..

* featured photo by Patti Cohenour
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  1. Catherine TerBurgh  September 11, 2017

    Thank you Patti, I look forward to seeing you when you come home to WA.


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