Although the Wind


Izumi Shikibu, translated by Jane Hirshfield

Jane Hirshfield, in Nine Gates, states that in Japanese poetry the "experience of a poem is put forward, not the experiencer, and the poems do not coerce feeling, only invite it...” 

And so it is that "Although the Wind" invites us to feel the weight of the world, the wholeness of our bodies and our relationships, our "ruined houses." The poem invites us to notice that "Although the wind blows terribly here," the moonlight is also present, leaking "between the roof planks." It is as if the moonlight (love, spririt), that which is so very needed, is also somehow not wanted. And yet, the moonlight (love, God, spirit, that which is beyond all our understanding) leaks in anyway to light our soul. 

In the process of setting this poem by Izumi Shikibu, I spent time sitting with it, reading it, speaking it, walking with it, and reciting it to others. I let it enter my body and wash over me many, many times. The setting that revealed itself reflects this process, giving the listener time to breath and reflect, not to coerce feeling, but to invite it. 

Izumi Shikibu is considered the greatest woman poet of Japanese literature and was part of the only Golden Age of world literature that was created by women writers. 

Commissioned by: 

The College of Musical Arts for the Bowling Green State University Women's Chorus, Sandra Frey Stegman, conductor


The Young New Yorkers' Women's Ensemble, Michael Kerschner, director


Item Voicing Media Price
HSP-117-01 SSAA, a cappella

Bowling Green State University Women's Chorus, Sandra Frey Stegman, conductor
digital download
SSAA, a cappella $1.29


Although the Wind

Although the wind
blows terribly here,
the moonlight also leaks
between the roof planks
of this ruined house.

Izumi Shikibu
translated by Jane Hirshfield

*Bowling Green State University Women's Chorus, Sandra Stegman, director (Bowling Green, OH; Hilliard, OH; Columbus, OH) - World Premiere - listen above

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