Go Ahead (2016)

SATB/SAATBB Chorus, unaccompanied, 6'

Premiered by the International Orange Chorale San Francisco, 2018.

'Go Ahead' is a song cycle with poems by Alfred Starr Hamilton. Somewhat recluse during his life, he lived simply in a small apartment with minimal belongings, periodically mailing in stacks of poems to publishers for consideration. I found his book in a shop one day and was hooked; so many of his poems have beautiful repetition, surrealistic images, and an ability to evoke nostalgia or melancholy with just a few simple words. 'Virginia Beach' and 'Free' bookend this cycle to set a dreamy, mysterious tone and send the listener off with hope and curiosity. 'Go Ahead' is a motion-filled setting, 'Fat Cinch' doesn't take itself too seriously, and 'For a Firefly' is a micro-poem: just the title and five words: “if ever an evening star”. 

Thanks to Virginia Cruickshank for permission to using A.S. Hamilton's words. The poems appear in the book 'A Dark Dreambox of Another Kind'. 


I think of the tug of the tides

I think of the tug of the tides on the shoreline

I think of the tug of the tides on Virginia Beach

I think it tugs at the pearly gates

I think it tugs at the seaweed

I think it explains a little boy's hair

I think it explains a little boy's tears

I think it explains a little boy's whereabouts

I think it explains the soul


Go ahead

Even if it's raining on a January morning

Go ahead, and put the daffodils on the pavements

Go ahead and sing us a song

Go ahead, and ring us on the phone

Live this rainstorm down, if you only could

Live this down to the shining pavements

Go ahead and gather the daffodils off of the night


on a cinch

on a dime

when you're twenty

on a pinch

on a dime

when you're forty

On a moon ride

On a hay ride

It isn't a cinch 

on a dime

when you're flat fifty


if ever

an evening star


I dared

I dared to go further

I dared to go fuller

I dared to go everywhere

I dared the four winds

I dared to do what the girls do

I dared to wear my long hair all over the place

I dared joy

I dared happiness

I dared to be free

I dared my own soul