Poems by Ursula K. Le Guin
Music by Elinor Armer

The Anger

Unlock, unlock!
So long a silence
needs shouting
and latches smashed
and the damned hinges broken

and then in ceremonial
of open air, the wine
poured out, the hands
empty: and slowly,
grave, straight, smiling,
to step across the threshold.

Unlock, set open,
set free, the exile
waiting in long anger
outside my home.

The Child on the Shore

Wind, wind, give me back my feather
Sea, sea, give me back my ring
Death, death, give me back my mother
So that she can hear me sing.

Song, song, go and tell my daughter
Tell her that I wear the ring
Say I fly upon the feather
Fallen from the falcon’s wing.


I have not only falcons
in the family, and towers
on golden hills, but also
crabs: on the loud flat shore
under black cliffs, crabs
prancing in the shadow
of fierce, stranded seaweed.
And there are lots of bats
in my inheritance; the flittermouse
cracks the cup of twilight by the house
of owls and grey acacias, writes
my name in the Almanach
de Gotha: Ostrogotha.
And the moth
is a kind of cousin, and some nights
of autumn, rain is my elder brother.

Hard Words

Hard words
this is sour ground

dust to ashes
sounds soft
hard in the mouth

as stones
as teeth

Earth speaks birds

For Katya

You know, love you know, love
you aren’t the only one that ever

They always shut us up in towers
ever since once upon a

So we learn alone there
arts of unlocking

Till the old terrors
shed wolfskin and stand brothers

by the alder lake at the edge of April

and the waiting’s over

“The Anger” and “Footnote” are from Wild Angels, Capra Press, 1975 
“The Child on the Shore” and “Hard Words” are from Hard Words, Harper & Row, 1981 
“For Katya” is from Wild Oats and Fireweed, Harper & Row, 1988

Wendy Hillhouse, mezzo-soprano 
Esther Landau, flute 
Rira Watanabe, violin 
Keisuke Nakagoshi, piano 
Erica Johnson, percussion

Produced and Engineered by David v. R. Bowles of Swineshead Productions, LLC.

Music Copyright © 1985 by Elinor Armer. 
Transferred 2002 J. B. Elkus. 
Used by permission.
Poems Copyright © 1975, 1981, 1988 by Ursula K. Le Guin