01 July 2008

sure on this shining night (garden bloggers' muse day)

Sure on this shining night
Of starmade shadows round,
Kindness must watch for me
This side the ground.

The late year lies down the north.
All is healed, all is health.
High summer holds the earth.

Hearts all whole.
Sure on this shining night I weep for
wonder wand'ring far

Of shadows on the stars.

—James Agee

The American composer Samuel Barber set this poem to music. It's one of the most beautiful settings I know: a perfect marriage of music and words. Here's a recording of baritone Nathan Gunn singing it. Enjoy! http://www.lottelehmann.org/artsong/bios/bio_Barber.shtml
(if the song doesn't play automatically from this link, click on the title "Sure on this Shining Night" on the lottelehmann.org page, and the Windows Media Player should open on your screen; try to listen to the song if you can, because it "sure" is beautiful)

For a little more information on this cool idea, see Garden Bloggers’ Muse Day over at Sweet Home and Garden Chicago.


  1. That poem is very nice and very nicely sung as well. It's my first muse day and I am enjoying the great variety of poetry.

  2. Thanks for stopping by, Cindy! I've got a great recording of the same song sung by Cheryl Studer, which is also gorgeous.

    GBMD is pretty darn fun, innit?

  3. What a lovely poem. Thank you for sharing it, and providing the musical link.

  4. Glad you liked it, Kate!

  5. lovely poem, and I love Samuel Barber.

  6. I love this poem/song. I've been a Samuel Barber fan since I saw the opera "The Voyage of Edgar Allen Poe." I really enjoyed this, thanks.

  7. Thanks for visiting, muum! Most of my experience with Barber is his songs. "Sure on This Shining Night" and the Hermit Songs cycle are real favorites of mine.

    MMD, I'm not familiar with "The Voyage..." Something new to learn about! Thanks for the tip.