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All You Who Sleep Tonight

Richard has set four of Vikram Seth’s poems to music.

Qingdao: December stands on its own, and is on Richard’s CD Committed to my Heart.

Three other poems Voices, Heart, and All You Who Sleep Tonight form a song cycle. If you are interested in seeing the scores, please contact Richard.

Here is a demo recording of the third poem in the song cycle, All You Who Sleep Tonight, set to music, and an excerpt from Qingdao:December.

All You Who Sleep Tonight
by Vikram Seth

Click to play

All you who sleep tonight
Far from the ones you love,
No hand to left or right,
And emptiness above--

Know that you aren’t alone.
The whole world shares your tears,
Some for two nights or one,
And some for all their years.

Qingdao: December
by Vikram Seth

Click to play a clip [the full song is available for purchase]

Here by the sea this quiet night
I see the moon through misted light.
The water laps the rocks below.
I hear it lap and swash and go.
The pine trees, dense and earthward-bent,
Suffuse the air with resin-scent.
A landward breeze combs through my hair
And cools the earth with salted air.

Here all attempt in life appears
Irrelevant. The erosive years
That built the moon and rock and tree
Speak of a sweet futility
And say that we who are from birth
Caressed by unimpulsive earth
Should yield our fever to the trees,
The seaward light and resined breeze.

Here by the sea this quiet night
Where my still spirit could take flight
And nullify the heart’s distress
Into the peace of wordlessness,
I see the light, I breathe the scent,
I touch the insight, but a bent
of heart exacts its old designs
And draws my hand to write these lines.

Poems copyright ©1987, 1990 Vikram Seth. Used with the kind permission of the author.
Music copyright © 2004 Richard Link.
All You Who Sleep Tonight performed by Lara Bruckman.
Qingdao: December performed by Tim Krol and Fraser Walters