Song to the Witch of the Cloisters

(1965)

"Song to the Witch of the Cloisters" is the second song of John Corigliano's song cycle The Cloisters.

Song to the Witch of the Cloisters
by William M. Hoffman


Old lady in the herb garden,
This Sunday in the lavender,
Fat lady in the crawling leaves,
White lady in the sun,
I know by moonlight,
Sweet lady, what you are.


Granny, Granny, the lovers wake and
Oh, they sigh and fold.
White shades glow like stained glass;
Their cigarettes burn like incense.


Mistress who rules coriander
And curbs scents without mercy,
In whose palace grows the woven pomegranate,
Help me stop that stirring,
Without me willing,
Their kissing, their sleeping, their soaring.


My lady of the Cloisters
Where Mary is forever weeping,
The holy baby never wakes,
And Christ lies unresurrected,
Before the moon moves
And is laced gently by leaves,
Make the lovers be still.


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