Songs of Water & Women

for flute, oboe, contrabass, mezzo-soprano, and piano (c. 9')

Songs of Water & Women takes its name from a book of poetry by Kira Gresoski, Bodies of Water & Women. The book represents the first published collection of poems from the author, and takes much inspiration from her childhood life in St. Louis. Divided into three chapters, these writings display a variety of emotions and aspects of growing up, but always seem to hold on to a sense of inner beauty and self-worth. One of the most beautiful and convincing characteristics of this collection is that there are several “narratives” that work their way through the book, in the form of different poems that sometimes even have similar titles. Songs of Water & Women sets two of these poems: “Swimming in Secret Lake” and “In Love With a Lake.”

                                                                                                                         Cory Brodack
                                                                                                                        February 2021

premiered by Claudia Aizaga, flute; David Munro, oboe; Adam Har-zvi, contrabass; Katherine Pracht Phares, mezzo-soprano; Sandra Coursey, piano on March 25th, 2021

contact the composer for a perusal score and recording
(video performance is of "In Love With a Lake")

Swimming in Secret Lake

Does it go on forever?

My heartbeat ripples
in the water.
The great blue heron
glides across the sky,
its elegant legs breaking
the lake’s glass surface.

The sun, a citrus twist,
shines on my salt lick skin,
my tired limbs like the fins
of some common minnow.

This must be forever,

eternity as a bowl of water
suspended between
the dusky sunset sky
where planets of dust and ice
spin on their spines,
and the sinking miles
where cold-blooded creatures
dwell in the shadows,
and I kick my legs like a duck,
soaking up clouds and colors,
caught in the middle.

I’m skimming across this tension,
an arrow slung through silk,
soft and strong as the element
that first held me
when I was called
out of the darkness
into my mother’s body,
when I was called
out of the depths
into my body

In Love With a Lake

I surrender my rigid inner mind
each time I step foot in the divine
silky liquid of the lake.

My sisters and I slither out
of our swimsuits once the water ripples
up to our chests. We press ourselves
skin-to-skin with the water’s wet kiss.

Our voices flit and fill the muggy air
with chitters of joy and sighs of laughter.

Then, without sudden announcement,
but gradually, like the drift of sediment,
a silence settles.

My stinging thoughts go dead nettle.
The only sound is water sloshing
on the weedy, reeded shoreline,
and in the distance,
a solitary hawk,
distant cousin of the dinosaurs,
Enough talking.
Swimming in the lake,
our bodies become listening instruments,

and we are free to be naked,
with nothing to say.