Words To Be Spoken


"Words To Be Spoken" is a song from John Musto's Collected Songs volume setting the text of Archibald MacLeish. The song is also part of John Musto's The Book of Uncommon Prayer.


The recording of "Words to be Spoken," provided in the audio playlist to the right, is made possible through a collaboration between the Hampsong Foundation and SongFest. The performers are Jazimina MacNeil, mezzo-soprano, Carolyn Goff, piano, and the performance took place at SongFest 2008 at Pepperdine University. To listen, please click on the track name itself.

Words To Be Spoken
by Archibald MacLeish

for Baoth Wiborg son of Gerald and Sara Murphy who died in New
England in his sixteenth year and a tree was planted there

O shallow ground
That over ledges
Shoulders the gentle year.

Tender O shallow
Ground your grass is
Sisterly touching us:

Your trees are still:

They stand at our side in the

Night lantern.

Sister O shallow
Ground you inherit
Death as we do.

Your year also —
The young face,
The voice — vanishes.

Sister O shallow

let the silence of
Green be between us
And the green sound.

Audio PLaylist