Memorial for a child – cello and guitar



Instrumental duo which speaks for itself and can be interpreted in a personal way by any who had a child (or who wished they could have had one). The melody wanders from nostalgic thoughts to brief smiling moments of remembrance and back to regret.
For those who recognise traditional liturgical melodies, you may note that the guitar quotes the “Gloria in excelsis Deo” for time to time, as a sign of hope.
The original song, for alto and guitar, was based on a poem by Carol Rumens:

The girl in the Cathedral
Daring to watch over Martyrs and Archbishops
stretched in their full length slumber
Sharp-nosed Deans Princes and Knights still dressed for wars,
as dim as bronze
slim feet at rest upon the flanks of long unwhistled hounds

Daring the chills and dusts that cling to stiffly soaring branches
This small eloquence is a stone so plain
it cannot go unread
a chiselled spray of drooping buds
a name a date an age
Susannah Starr died at ten years old
and nobody knows why her timid presence
should be commended here
while history filled the logbooks of these lives
she sat apart
a wellbred child perhaps
patient with tutors and needlepoint
perhaps a foundling saved by some lean churchman
warming to his duty
Quietly during eighteen o four
the blind was drawn
the halfstitched sampler folded
Whoever mourned her must have carried weight
and bought her this pale space
to ease his grief,
as if such sainted company could speed her journeying soul
or because he guessed the power of one short name
and “ten years old”
to strip all the clothes
from all these emperors
and rouse her simple ghost
our pointless tears.