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Forgetting


Listen to excerpts from the new Navona CD There Are Many Other Legends, track 30.

  • Score: $1.50 (for reproduction rights; minimum purchase of 10 required; additional charge for hard copies)
  • For SATB chorus/piano (version for SATB chorus and orchestra also available; contact me for information)
  • Secular text: poem by Jane Babin, 1956–2015)
  • 4:45
  • Difficulty rating (1-5): 3
  • View a PDF score excerpt
  • Purchase, request full review copy or more information, etc.
  • Premiered by the Plymouth State University Chamber Singers, Dan Perkins, conductor.

The poem “Forgetting” was written by Jane Babin, beloved friend and colleague. Her first career was spent as an attorney and professor in the Business Department at Plymouth State University. In 2004, Jane was diagnosed with ALS (“Lou Gehrig’s Disease”), and shortly thereafter retired from the PSU faculty. After that, she devoted herself full-time to writing about life with ALS, patients' rights, and doctor-patient communication, and spoke to medical school seminars and church congregations about these issues. In 2006, Jane was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters by PSU for her work in these areas.

I first got to know Jane because our sons were enrolled together at Plymouth’s Child Development and Family Center. We spent a lot of time together over several summers, talking about all the things parents talk about while they watch their kids play. Forgetting is dedicated “To Christian’s Mom, from Peter's Dad.”

Forgetting

How will you feel when I am dead?
My narcissistic hope is that you’ll miss me.
But in truth life goes on, the rushing here and there,
The meetings, the parties, the theater.
When would you find the time to spare a thought?
I learn as I lay dying that the world is not about us.
Yet, we make it our own in some egocentric way
And in doing so lose out on things more basic than ourselves.

I would not blame you if you forget
This life is so hectic, so full of the present.
How can I expect you to remember every little detail—
The way I laughed, the way I turned my head.
These memories will fade, like all, with time
You will forget the sound of my voice and
wonder how it happened.
The color of my eyes will become a mystery to you.
No, I will not blame your forgetting.

Yet, there may come a moment to surprise you:
It may be a song, or words in a book
That remind you of days gone past.
All of a sudden I will be there,
Tucked inside a memory you were not expecting;
And I will live again, just for a moment, in your mind.
Tears will form and moisten your blue eyes briefly,
Then recede, taking my shadow with them.

These lives we lead have purpose, I believe,
The sum being more important than the individual parts.

—Jane Babin

"Forgetting", from Pearls in the Pond, copyright ©2007 by Jane E. Babin. Used by permission of the author.

choral, full chorus, song, poetry, setting, secular, death, memory, memorial, loss, grief, hope, life goes on, music, modern, contemporary, composition

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Jonathan Santore
Plymouth, NH
info@jonathansantore.com

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