The Wanderer - (2005)
for mezzo soprano and piano
Out of the railroad eating house
Comes a lean brown man,
And putting down his pack
Sits smoking a cigarette.
The glow lights up his sensitive Voltaire face
Gazing moodily out on the trail:
The blue patches under his eyes
Show that he has not slept;
It is evident that he has not long to live
And that he knows it.
He will die sooner if he smokes cigarettes,
And that is the reason why he is smoking one.
[ 3 pages, 3' 40" ]
This, from The Best Poems of 1923, conjures an evocative image with references to literature as well as visions of the commonplace. A small prelude evokes slowly passing time and a sense of suspension. The voice then intones the abject loneliness of this man, the wanderer, in a form reminiscent of a blues structure.