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MONSTERS OF GRACE

A Digital Opera in Three Dimensions

Philip Glass & Robert Wilson

Lyrics by Yalal al-Din Rumi

Translated and Adapted from the original by Coleman Barks

© 1998 Dunvagen Music Publishers, Inc.




Monster of Grace Logo


Secene 1: Where Everything Is Music

Don't worry about saving these songs!
And if one of our instruments breaks,
it doesn't matter.

We have fallen into the place
where everything is music.

The strumming and the flute notes
rise into the atmosphere,
and even if the whole world's harp
should burn up, there will still be
hidden instruments playing.

So the candle flickers and goes out.
We have a piece of flint, and a spark.

This singing art is sea foam.
The graceful movements come from a pearl
somewhere on the ocean floor.

Poems reach up like spendthrift and the edge
of driftwood along the beach, wanting!

They derive
from a slow and powerful root
that we can't see.

Stop the words now!
Open the window in the center of your chest,
and let the spirits fly in and out.


Scene 2: The Needle


Scene 3: Don't Go Back To Sleep

Monsters of Grace; Sketch for Scene 3: Don´t Go Back to Sleep (Robert Wilson) Monsters of Grace; Scene 3: Don´t Go Back to Sleep (Kleiser-Walczak Construction Company) Monsters of Grace; Scene 3: Don´t Go Back to Sleep (Kleiser-Walczak Construction Company)

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.

You must ask for what you really want

People are going back and forth across the doorsill

The door is round and open.


Scene 4: In The Arc Of Your Mallet

Monsters of Grace; Scene 4: In the Arc of Your Mallet (Kleiser-Walczak Construction Company) Monsters of Grace; Scene 4: In the Arc of Your Mallet (Kleiser-Walczak Construction Company)

Don't go anywhere without me.
Let nothing happen in the sky apart from me,
or on the ground, in this world or that world,
without my being in its happening.
Vision, see nothing I don't see.
Language, say nothing.
The way the night knows itself with the moon,
be that with me. Be the rose
nearest to the thorn that I am.
I want to feel myself in you when you taste food,
in the arc of your mallet when you work.
When you visit friends, when you go
up on the roof by yourself at night.
There's nothing worse than to walk
out along the street without you.
I don't know where I'm going.
You're the road and the knower of roads,
more than maps, more than love.


Scene 5: My Worst Habit

My worst habit I get so tired of winter.

I became a torture to those I'm with.
If you're not here, nothing grows.
I lack clarity.
My words wrangle and knot up.

How to cure bad water?
Send it back to the river.
How to cure bad habits?
Send me back to you.

When water gets caught in habitual whirlpools,
dig a way out through the bottom of the ocean.
There is a secret medicine given only to those
who hurt so hard they can't hope.
The hopers would feel slighted if they knew.
 
Look as long as you can at the friend you love,
no matter whether that friend is moving away from you
or coming back towards you.


Scene 6: Like This

Monsters of Grace; Scene 6: Like This; (Kleiser-Walczak Construction Company)

If anyone asks you
how perfect satisfaction
of all your sexual wanting
will look, lift your face
and say,

When someone mentions the gracefulness
of the night sky, climb up on the roof
and dance and say,

If anyone wants to know what "spirit" is,
or what "God's fragrance" means,
lean your head towards him or her.
Keep your face there close.

When someone quotes the old poetic image
about clouds gradually uncovering the moon,
slowly loosen the knot strings
of your robe.

If anyone wonders how Jesus raised the dead,
don't try to explain the miracle.
Kiss me on the lips.

When someone asks what it means
to "die for love", point

If someone asks how tall I am, frown
and measure with your fingers the space
between the creases on your forehead.

The soul sometimes leaves the body, the returns.
When someone doesn't believe that,
walk back into my house.

When lovers moan,
they're telling our story.

I am a sky where spirits live.
Stare into the deepening blue,
while the breeze says a secret.

When someone asks what there is to do,
light the candle in his hand.

How did Joseph's scent come to Jacob?

How did Jacob's sight return?

When Shams comes back from Tabriz,
he'll put his head around the edge
of the door to surprise us.


Scene 7: Stereogram

Monsters of Grace, Sketch for Scene 7: Stereogram (Robert Wilson) Monsters of Grace, Scene 7: Stereogram (International Production Associates Inc.)


Scene 8: Let The Letter Read You

Monsters of Grace, Scene 8: Let The Letter Read You (Kleiser-Walczak Construction Company)

Why stay so long where your words are scattered
and doing no good. I've sent a letter a day
for a hundred days. Either you don't read the mail,
or you've forgotten how to leave.

Let the letter read you. Come back.
No one understands who you are in that prison
for the stonefaced. You've escaped,
but still you sit there like a falcon
on the window ledge. You are both water
and stream, but you think you need something
to drink like a lion or a deer.
How far is it? How far is the light of the moon
from the moon? How far is the taste of the candy
from the lips? Every second you give away light.
We accept. We like this market.
Your love is a sweet poison we ear from your hand
to dissolve and drain away the ego life
now spraying this fountain from us.


Scene 9: Boy, Beach and Ball


Scene 10: They Say That Paradise Will Be Perfect

Monsters of Grace; Scene 10: They Say that Paradise will be Perfect (Kleiser-Walczak Construction Company)

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I'll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
doesn't make any sense.

You don't have "bad" days and "good" days.
You don't sometimes feel brilliant and sometimes dumb.
There's no studying, no scholarly thinking
having to do with love,
but there is a great deal of puffing, and secret touching,
and nights you can't remember at all.

When I die, lay out the corpse.
You may want to kiss my lips,
just beginning to decay.
Don't be frightened
if I open my eyes.

They say that Paradise will be perfect
with lots of clear white wine
 and all the beautiful women.
We hold on to times like this then,
since this is how it's going to be.

We have a huge barrel of wine, but no cups.
That's fine with us. Every morning
we glow and in the evening we glow again.
They say there's no future for us.
They're right.
Which is fine with us.

At night we fall into each other with such grace.
When it's light, you throw me back
like you do your hair.
Your eyes now drink with God,
mine with looking at you,
one drunkard takes care of another.


Scene 11: The New Rule

There's an old rule that drunks have to argue
and get into fights.
The lover is just as bad. He falls down a hole.
But down in that hole he finds something shining,
worth more than any amount of money or power.

Last night the moon came
dropping its clothes in the street.
I took it as a sign to start singing.
Falling up into the bowl of sky.
The bowl brakes. Everywhere is falling everywhere.
Nothing else to do.

Here's the new rule: break the wineglass.
And fall toward the glassblower's breath.


Scene 12: An Artist Comes To Paint You

Monsters of Grace; Scene 12: An Artist Comes to Paint You (Kleiser-Walczak Construction Company)

Give yourself a kiss.
If you live in China, don't look
somewhere else, in Tibet, or Mongolia.

If you want to hold the beautiful one,
hold yourself to yourself.

When you kiss the Beloved,
touch your own lips with your fingers.

The beauty of every woman and every man
is your own beauty.

The confusion of your hair
obscures that sometimes.

An artist comes to paint you
and stands with his mouth open.

Your love reveals your beauty,
but all coverings would disappear
if only for a moment your holding back
would sit before your generosity
and ask,

At that,
Sham's life-changing face
gives you a wink.


Scene 13: Boy On Fire




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