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Sonatas VIII


Words by Khaetidawne Quirk

As I walked out into the untouched snow
The pristine beauty that met my wondering eye;
Filled my imagination with the worlds we know -
The worlds of nature, the forests, the trees, oceans, the skies...
The wonders we see as time goes by in years in flashes and spaces -
Those natural wonders are changed by time and by us and our careless traces.
We must take some care with the passage of time;
We should leave some traces of where we've been
But we should leave things of beauty and joy behind
Things to remember we were loving kin.
For this we’ve written these lines and composed these images
To memorialize this day’s feelings upon these pages.


Allegro Giojoso

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Sonatas VIII-1 (Allegro Giojoso) Sonatas VIII-2 (Allegro Giojoso)
Early in the morning, new fallen snow
To the winter gardens’ untouched frost I go.
No footsteps mar the paths of white;
Not a rabbit or cat track is in sight;
Not a sound yet rents the air -
Even the wind seems to hide elsewhere.
The frosty morning is quite still
As I venture toward the sledding hill.
Looking upward at the snow
Piled on branches, poised to fall below
Flocking trees along the lane
Where soon, the children will sled again
Down three sloping hills toward the river they’ll glide;
Some with dogs or cats frisking and sliding beside.
Catawampus some of their pets will go
Some will go twirling through the snow!
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Sonatas VIII-3 (Allegro Giojoso) Sonatas VIII-4 (Allegro Giojoso)
The fast sledding starts beyond the tree
If the children lose hats or mittens, St. Francis will guard them for free.
How they slide, one by one, down three gentle hills
They laugh all the way, it’s quite fast, but there aren’t hard spills.
You may glimpse the Rock River there on the right
Where Emily and Miss Jayne once went ice fishing with my wife.
Over and over they slide, again and again
Then left to climb the stairs and return to “Sledding Lane.”
As I look at the snow on the branches and boughs
Thinking of the sledders on cardboard boxes now
When I was a child we rode sleds from stores
But even today, all the riders are eager for more!
I think, “How untouched the frozen lane is now”
How the pristine frosting coats each branch, each bristle and bough.
I step aside - the sled lane is exposed
Near the snow covered evergreen past which sledders rode
With rosy cheeks and merry laughter
Scarves flying behind them and dogs tumbling after!
Children make snow angels down there at the end,
Then climb up steps on the left to slide down again.
As I look at the lane with its trees on the side
A springtime memory does abide,
For the snowy branches in their frosted freeze
In the spring are lovely bridal wreathes.
These hills all green and white in spring,
With violets of every shade blooming
And children romping everywhere;
Picking flowers in the fresh spring air!
Hunting for their Easter Eggs
On unsteady toddler legs,
While young parents hold their baby hands
In each basket - treasures land!
Now ice seals each memory spring has left
But I do not feel bereft
For will not the melting snow
Water the seeds that lie below?
Will not the thaw make flowers grow
That spring will bloom anew?

Adagio Delicato

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Sonatas VIII-5 (Adagio Delicato) Sonatas VIII-6 (Adagio Delicato)
Castles and fortresses are these trees covered with snow
Where I’d tryst with my wife - born where snow never goes.
She'd just seen a few inches once or twice in her life
Before I brought her here when I took her to wife.
Here she said she found “Diamonds that fell from the sky!”
Said, “There’s peace in the snowfall before people walk by.”
I find peace before rabbits or cat tracks mar snow or the ice
Before wind meets the wires to throw snow bursts once or twice;
To shatter the icicles, to crash a few down
To bring chaos or crumbling to this smooth snowy town
Where peace reigns in ice dreams and winter lies deep.
While I alone wander as the happy town sleeps
Warm ‘neath their eiderdowns, happy they lie
In the dear land of counterpane as their warm dreams sweep by...
A quiet scene on a peaceful day
Still nothing to mar the quiet, I say
No wind or animals at play -
And then, while everything is still
A hushed, soft sound the silence fills
The air - what can it be?
I search the trees - I have to see...
I looked about the scenes of white
To find the sound, to catch the sight!
I caught the snow taking a sudden spill!
For the gentle sway of a wire will
Oft shake the snow quite suddenly!
Some snow has dropped upon a tree
To cause a burst on a branch of snow!
‘Tis like a snowy cross near center left in white;
Looking on to guard the falling snow
The tree stands a sentinary guard in the rear, near right.
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Sonatas VIII-7 (Adagio Delicato) Sonatas VIII-8 (Adagio Delicato)
Looking upward through the trees snow glazed and frozen
I’m pleased I took this path unchosen
By the little forest creatures
That I may enjoy the unmarked features
While I journey forward - not too far
I look not backward as I go
To see not where my footsteps marred
Where I went walking in the snow.
Now home to breakfast I’ll enjoy the trees aglaze
With frosty lace of snow and ice
Before the world of nature wakes to winters’ wonder and delights.
While I take joy in my lone reverie
In the beauty of these sights I see
The untouched scenes and memories
Of quiet snowflakes coming down
Of untouched beauty all around.

Andante Felice

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Sonatas VIII-9 (Andante Felice) Sonatas VIII-10 (Andante Felice)
Pristine in all it’s untouched glory
Kissed by the sun, sky blue and bright
Before the world wakes up to see the story
I walk home a different way along the paths of untouched white.
Not wishing to see the prints I made to mark the perfect sight.
Still quiet on this early morn
No person on my solitary stroll I meet
No footprints in the snow adorn
Though I see the plow has met the street -
A harbinger of the waking day
When all that’s peaceful ebbs away.
Too soon - the sounds of nature wake
The sounds of winter birds and fowl
Dogs will bark and cats will prowl;
Rabbits hop, the fox will trek;
The lonely deer will stretch it’s neck;
The raccoon will scatter specks around if things aren’t fastened tight -
Children in their winter boots will jump to break the puddle ice.
I think of places I may take my bride, perhaps she’s up to meet the sights
In the untouched beauty of the icy snowy white
Of natures’ splendorous silent morn, without the public clatter.
I’ll hold her hand, we’ll stroll awhile
She’ll hear the laughter of a child -
She’ll say, “I know nature’s both wild and mild without the world’s mad chatter!
But - Oh! My Love! Just hear that child!
That child makes all this matter!”

Copyright © 2023 Brendan J. Quirk