IN THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW (words by Edwin Arlington Robinson, adapted by Louis Rosen)

There were faces to remember in the Valley of the Shadow, / There were faces unregarded, there were faces to forget; / There were fires of grief and fear and a few forgotten ashes, / There were sparks of recognition that are not forgotten yet / In the Valley of the Shadow.

Now at first they felt amazed, a self-righteous indignation / At the measureless mistake that somehow brought them to this state. / They were lost and unacquainted—till they found themselves in others, / Ones who groped as they were groping with unfathomable fate / In the Valley of the Shadow.

There were sons and there were daughters who had stumbled to adulthood, / Who saw too late the road they should have taken long ago: / Some were rebels, some were servants to their family's ambition, / The accumulated wreckage of what others did not know / In the Valley of the Shadow.

There were creepers in the darkness where all regrets were torches, / Giving light enough to show them what was there upon the shelves— / There was more for them to see than they ever could remember / Of something that had been alive and once had been themselves / In the Valley of the Shadow.

There were some who knew the grandeur of success and all its glory, / The spoiled sons with shoulders that had never felt the wheel; / And all their empty trophies were a gilded cup of nothing / That no self-respecting thief would ever even care to steal / In the Valley of the Shadow.

Long and often they had bullied for some larger share of profit / And their need to strike a blow was compensation for their doubt / They were selfish men of privilege with silent eyes of envy— / Not a trace of introspection, disenchanted and played out. / In the Valley of the Shadow.

So they were, and so they are; as they came are coming others, / And among them are the fearless and the meek and the unborn; / And a question that has held us until now without an answer / May still remain unanswered until all have ceased to mourn.

For the children of the dark are more to name than are the wretched, / Or the broken, or the weary, or the baffled, or the shamed. / There are builders of new mansions in this pyre of human embers / And among them are the dying and the blinded and the maimed: / In the Valley of—In the Valley of the Shadow.

© 2012 Louis Rosen, Lullwater Music, ASCAP. All Rights Reserved.