IN PARADISUM

by Kathleen Allan

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“In Paradisum was premiered by the UBC University Singers on their 2008 United Kingdom tour. A highly personal work, it was written during my first year in Vancouver and was inspired by my first encounters with the beautiful Pacific coast. Having grown up in a harsher coastal climate on the edge of the Atlantic ocean, I was struck by the calmness and serenity of Vancouver’s seaside. I was inspired to write a poem in honour of my grandfather, an amateur sailor and photographer, who at the time was beginning to succumb to his chronic lung disease in St. John’s. Writing the poem and setting it to music helped me to reconcile the distance between my homes on two coasts, and allowed me to musically express my awe at natural beauty, my grappling with transitions, life and loss, and the profound sense of hope the ocean, regardless of coast, represented to me.” K.A.

LYRICS

A breath of sunset,
A snapshot of fresh air
Is framed in memory.
Sailing still.
Let me lead you up away
Beyond the sunset,
Beyond the sea
Where the still living memories
are sailing still.
Let us into the sky stand
Across the sunlight,
Beyond the day
Towards living horizons
Still breathing still.
A focused journey
Through the lens
Of true breath.
Waves wash in and out
Inhaling tide
Exhaling colour.
Your eyes are seeing still
Your flash is welcome.

Traditional Latin text:

In paradisum deducant te Angeli;
in tuo adventu suscipiant te martyres,
et perducant te in civitatem sanctam Ierusalem.
Chorus angelorum te suscipiat,
et cum Lazaro quondam paupere
æternam habeas requiem.

May angels lead you into Paradise;
may the martyrs receive you at your coming
and lead you to the holy city of Jerusalem.
May a choir of angels receive you,
and with Lazarus, who once was poor,
may you have eternal rest.

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