Notes: This challenging work for unaccompanied mixed voices was commissioned by Dr. Debra Cairns and I Coristi Chamber Choir, Edmonton, as one of the choir's tenth anniversary projects in 2003 . It was premiered in Edmonton, performed at Podium 2004 in Winnipeg, and released on Echoes: Ten Years of Song by the Alberta classical recordings label, Arktos. People sometimes think (based on the title) that I wrote the text and composed a piece about my own mother, but although there may be a few similarities, the woman described in the poem by "The Blackbird Poet" Francis Ledwidge, is much more about his mother, or a romanticized, imaginary mother-figure, than mine! Ledwidge was an Irish poet who was killed in W.W. I while serving in the British army, just days before he would have turned thirty.
God made my mother on an April day, From sorrow and the mist along the sea, Lost birds' and wanderers' song and ocean spray, And the moon loved her wandering jealously.
Beside the ocean's din she combed her hair, Singing the nocturne of the passing ships, Before her earthly lover found her there And kissed away the music from her lips.
She came unto the hills and saw the change That brings the swallow and the geese in turns. But there was not a grief that she deemed strange, For there is that in her which always mourns.
Kind heart she has for all on hill or wave Whose hopes grew wings like ants to fly away. I bless the God Who such a mother gave This poor bird-hearted singer of a day.
Performed by: I Coristi Chamber Choir, Dr. Debra Cairns, conductor