Daylight Saving


Daylight Saving

November: Deployment

December: Radio Silence

January: Birthday


February: Summer Memory

Emily Kate Gentile, soprano
Peiharn Chen, piano

About the cycle
Waiting can be an intense and even surreal experience. In Daylight Saving, a woman’s partner has
deployed to war, and she doesn’t know when – or if – she’ll hear from them again. As time drags on, she
waits at home for news and experiences various emotions, ranging from frustration, to nostalgia, to
resignation. This song cycle explores these various emotional stages in five movements, each of which
corresponds to a consecutive month of her partner’s departure and prolonged absence.
Duration: 18 minutes

November: Deployment
Seventy minutes to go!
Eight pairs of bras should be fine, don’t you think?
And nine sets of briefs.
Socks for two weeks.
I’m packing your hairbrush,
Your mirror,
Your razor,
Your khakis,
your blazer,
Your sneakers and jeans.
Three tanks and three clean t-shirts.

Every last day where you’ll be looks the same,
From now to next week—
Rainy and gray.
So I’m packing your sweaters,
Your thermals,
Your beanie,
Your parka,
Your gloves and
your new Kevlar vest.
Hoping you barely use it.

Maybe you’ll need something cozy at night?
I’ll pack you a scarf—
one of my own.
Your uniform’s clean and
it’s here on
the bed by
your boots, wait
Where are they?
Where are they?
They’re here.
Boots that I shined this morning.

Seventy seconds to go—
The car is out front
Are you ready?
You’re ready to go?
I guess it’s goodbye?
Are you ready?

December: Radio Silence
No more birds
No more birdseed
In a rush
Stinging air
Lost my grasp
Scattered seeds

There are no
more warnings
of storms,
rude mornings

I’m freezing in here
While the squirrels out there
Once they all leave
I can’t tell how much seed they’ve left
Can’t be much.

Some day soon
I’ll turn on the news
There will be snow–
Or half-signal, half-static
“Today in—-
There was a—–
That’s all we know.”

I’ll sweep the driveway clear.

January: Birthday
One cup of oil,
Two cups of flour,
Two cups of sugar,
Three large eggs.

One cup of oil,
Two cups of flour,
Two cups of sugar,
Three large eggs.

I couldn’t write you yesterday.
I’m sorry,
I was too busy baking.
I’m kidding.

I was too busy thinking
Of what I should say.
How’s it going?
How’s the weather?
What’s it like there?
Is it scary?

One cup of oil,
Two cups of flour,
Two cups of sugar,
You are there.

You went when they sent you;
Didn’t care where they sent you,
Did you?

Happy birthday to you.
Happy birthday.

Where you are,
Feels so far
While I’m home
On my own.

One cup of oil
Two cups of flour
Two cups of sugar
Three large eggs

February: Summer Memory
Golden-hour haze
The slow summer days
Heart and skin ablaze

Jars of fireflies
Quiet star-filled skies
The stars in your eyes

Vanilla ice cream
A night swim, the cold stream
Your dark hair agleam

A far-off ringing chime
The sun on its slow climb
So low on time

The water of wine
Your fingers in mine
Life suddenly fine

Late sun on bare skin
Night-blooming jasmine
The vast world within

March: Homecoming
I wake up to light.
I think it is night
for a moment
but it isn’t.
That is a ray of daylight
lashing my eye.
I thought it might be a flashlight;
it isn’t.
So, full of delight,
I rise, I stand
on my feet to greet
the sun.
I run,
or think I’m running
into the street.
I run,
or think I’m running
out to greet the sun
out to greet the sun
out to greet the sun
in bare feet.

I notice a sound.
It’s only around
for a moment
then it’s quiet.
I call out your name.
I breathe, I step
round to our backyard
and know. You’re home.
You hear me calling,
calling your name.
You’re home!
You hear me calling
out your name
out your name
out your name
without shame.

But where? Are you
I know I’m not alone.
I can feel
something nearby.
Soft and slow,
Almost like snow.
A fox,
brown as dry grass
right before my eyes,
right before my eyes.
I can see it now.
The day has begun.