Mercedes Otero

for mezzo soprano, flute, oboe, harp, and contrabass

ca. 16'15"



The poems used in “De Laguna” are from the book Laguna, by Alberto Arvelo Ramos, a contemporary Venezuelan poet. Translations by Mercedes Otero. 

  I- Introitus

The lagoon is not a mirror for us to vibrate, but the eye of the earth wishing to understand.

What is it that you want to tell me, tranquil and terrible pupil? Are you wishing me to drawn into your light without clarity, into your understanding that either forgives nor understands?

Do you want me to quit being who I am to become pure water, run along with you, because of you, put the night?

Tell me what you are looking at! Tell me what I do not want you to see!

II- de Laguna


The moon is different from itself.

It ignores the breaking of the leaves.

Mounts, and rivers, and smiles

get deeper into not being.

All is normal. The norm?

Loves undeserved each other.

But seeing you I understand

yhat in spite of the rain

you do not flow to ground

like a drizzle

But I flow you and I know

that in spite of the stones

I drip into your fissures.

But I crack and listen

how implacable

silence is.


To know it should suffice

to know that something may be

without you.

But it is not enough.

III- Recitativo

I am ready for your threat.

I accept and call upon

your calculating anger.

I am disposed

for the purity of your nails.

For you to pull threads of silence

away from me.

For you to tear apart my interior woods.

To denude me like a stone. To unroot the fibers of my pasture.

I am ready for the sharp tiger of your eyes.

I know a black morning in your gray. 

I know dawn, the fullmoon morning, the dark moon of your echoes, the tenderness that wounds more than the invisible moons. I know your calm. The tenebrous blue of your joy


The recording heard when viewing the score was performed by the UMBC RUCKUS Ensemble (Tony Arnold, soprano, Lisa Cella, flute, Fatma Daglar, oboe, Jacqueline Poullauf, harp, and Laura Ruas, double bass).

Click here to view the score