Riding the Elevator into the Sky

"Riding the Elevator into the Sky" is the fourth song of David Conte's song cycle Sexton Songs. The cycle is for soprano and piano or chamber ensemble and sets the poetry of Anne Sexton.

The audio selection features Marnie Breckenridge, soprano, and Ensemble Parallele with Nicole Paiement, conductor. Used with the permission of the composer.

Date: 2004Composer: David ConteText: Anne SextonSong Collection: Sexton Songs

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Riding the Elevator into the Sky
by Anne Sexton

As the fireman said:
ttDon’t book a room over the fifth floor
ttin any hotel in New York.
ttThey have ladders that will reach further
ttbut no one will climb them.
ttAs the New York Times said:
ttThe elevator always seeks out
ttthe floor of the fire
ttand automatically opens
ttand won’t shut.
ttThese are the warnings
ttthat you must forget
ttif you’re climbing out of yourself.
ttIf you’re going to smash into the sky.

ttMany times I’ve gone past
ttthe fifth floor, cranking upward,
ttbut only once
tthave I gone all the way up.
ttSixtieth floor:
ttsmall plants and swans bending
ttinto their grave.

ttFloor two hundred:
ttmountains with the patience of a cat,
ttsilence wearing its sneakers,
ttFloor five hundred:
ttMessages and letters centuries old, birds to drink,
tta kitchen of clouds,
ttFloor six thousand:
ttthe stars,
ttskeletons on fire,
tttheir arms singing.
ttAnd a key,
tta very large key, that opens something –
ttsome useful door – somewhere –
ttup there.



    Sheet Music

    Sexton Songs (all versions)

    Composer(s): David Conte

    Song(s): 1. Rowing
    2. Her Kind
    3. Ringing the Bells
    4. Riding the Elevator into the Sky
    5. Us

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