Marcus Argentarius (1st Century C.E.), translated by Brooks Haxton
Dead forever, under your little plot,
away from living things and sunlight,
may you find transcendent timelessness.
But here your wineglass holds red wine.
Here, under your arm, the shoulders of your wife are beautiful,
alive again with laughter.
Maybe the mind somewhere transcends the grave.
Here, the great philosophers lie in a heap of skulls.
Here (for baritone and piano)
Here (for chorus and piano)
was commissioned to celebrate the opening of the National Opera Center. It's part of "The OPERA America Songbook" which is available for sale from music dealers