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Ohne (Without)

This song was part of a collaboration between Nebula Ensemble and Wild Beautiful Orchestra in November 2020. After a joint brainstorming session that included discussion of the feeling of living “out of time,” or having been torn away from one’s own timeline as a result of the 2020 pandemic, I wrote the poem below which Russ adapted and set to music of his own composing. The music video features my childhood dollhouse and collection of antique dolls.


There is no now in my now;
I wait for yesterday.  
The moment arrived
and was snatched away
just as I reached
for the life I’d built.
Now I wait for yesterday.
It is coming back around, slowly, like the turning of the earth.
But it will not be 
the yesterday I left behind.
When it comes, 
it will be the season I sought, 
but in a new hemisphere.
The words I meant to utter 
will at last leave my tongue, 
but in a new language. 
And still I’ll wait for yesterday, 
for a face loved and lost
changed to a stranger’s face
whose eyes will strain in that new land
to find my own.

Music by Russ Callison, text by Sarah Perske

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