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For the Sleepwalkers 

Instrumentation | violin, cello, piano, and narrator

Year | 2023

Duration | 9'

Premiere | Premiered by Susie Park, Anthony Ross, Jungyoon Wie, and Stephen Yoakam

Link to Perusal Score

Text | For the Sleepwalkers (1981) by Edward Hirsch

Tonight I want to say something wonderful

for the sleepwalkers who have so much faith

in their legs, so much faith in the invisible

arrow carved into the carpet, the worn path

that leads to the stairs instead of the window,

the gaping doorway instead of the seamless mirror.

I love the way that sleepwalkers are willing

to step out of their bodies into the night,
to raise their arms and welcome the darkness,

palming the blank spaces, touching everything.

Always they return home safely, like blind men

who know it is morning by feeling shadows.

And always they wake up as themselves again.

That's why I want to say something astonishing

like: our hearts are leaving our bodies.

Our hearts are thirsty black handkerchiefs

flying through the trees at night, soaking up

the darkest beams ofmoonlight, the music


of owls, the motion of wind-torn branches.

And now our hearts are thick black fists

flying back to the glove of our chests.

We have to learn to trust our hearts like that.

We have to learn the desperate faith of sleep-

walkers who rise out of their calm beds

and walk through the skin of another life.
We have to drink the stupefying cup of darkness

and wake up to ourselves, nourished and surprised.

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