Song for Lying in Bed During a Night Rain(1965)
"Song for Lying in Bed During a Night Rain" is the eighth and tenth song in Ned Rorem's song cycle Poems of Love and Rain for mezzo-soprano and piano.
The first version of the song includes all of the stanzas of the poem except for the last stanza. The second version of the song includes only the last stanza of the poem.
Song for Lying in Bed During a Night Rain
by Kenneth Pitchford
How can I wash the lightning away that shines on your closed eyes?
How can I tell the thunder to lie as calm as your hand?
How can I know two sounds as dry as your voice before love and after?
How can I fear what I have never seen in your face?
Street noises ascend from the city beneath us as the rain falls
--sounds that merge and blur through my gabled window
to reflect the danger all my asphalt nightmares proffer
without the slow pulse beside me of your sleep.
But who are these bleeding strangers, naked as shadow,
who stalk at our bedside, calling your name?
When I look their faces are terrible as lightning
exposing an instant the white harvest of your breast.
Why do they curse our handclasp, as though we hoarded what fills their hunger,
what falls like rain from their wounds?
Why do you lie unmoved as mounds of fruit and take their kisses as so much wetness
to redden the white of your face?
How can the rain wash away such stains as your lips wear?
How can I tell their scars to grow as smooth as your skin?
How can I know two sounds as dry as your voice before fear and after?
How can I love what I have never seen in your face?