"Star-Crossed" is the fifth song of David Leisner's song cycle Confiding, which sets the poetry of women poets. "Star-Crossed" is by poet Elissa Ely.

This cycle is available in versions for high voice and piano, medium voice and piano, and high voice and guitar.


The audio selection in the player to the right features Emily Albrink, soprano, and David Leisner, guitar. The recording is from a live performance in Purchase, NY in 2007. Used with the permission of the composer. To listen, please click on the track name itself.

by Elissa Ely

On this far-flung black night, broad with blackness -
each star crawls with thick edges
and rigid worms line the gravel
like gravediggers in the rain, wet and respectful.
my throat calls and calls
a message scratchy from too many playings.
we beat on against the needle
and the restraining arm, a roll of old notes
stuck in the deluge until someone
separates them long enough to dry
in the white heat that follows
always and eventually,
like a led dog after the night.
You and I, master and mirror
Crazyman and company
we watch the sky shift with our half-hopes
our creations
we rip the linings of one another's pockets
with fingers that
pull away to touch
blood to blood, edge to scarlet edge
under that pouring star.
I slip and you sing under me, crazyman
your teeth small and perfect
until I pass my hand across them
and leave two rows of burnt Indian corn
rotting, and hanging on the night
like bent nails hang on the door of
a condemned house.

Audio PLaylist