Chromatic Fantasy

(2001)

Rorem's setting of Hecht's "Chromatic Fantasy" was composed in 2001 in Nantucket and published in 2008. The song is for high voice and piano.

Chromatic Fantasy
by Anthony Hecht


A smoky mist shawls the white beach,
and somewhere beyond our baffled eyes
sand dollars and chipped shells
like headstones savaged by tribesmen,
rest in gauze banks of pearl.


How pale the world has grown!
Cottages float away
and the whispers of the sea soothe
our familiar agitations.


I am (it says) serene.
I have bested grief.
The easy sway of eternity
in a soft singing of choral voices is mine,
here in the smooth sway
and cool opacity of jellyfish,
shadings of gray, infinitely varied,
compose and comfort.


And you, and you,
multitudinous as the tumbled sands
can acquire the driftwood's silver patina.


This is best, my whisper echoes
like a distant choir.


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