Lines Written for Gene Kelly to Dance to (1999)
for soprano and piano [6:00]
Spring is when the grass turns green and glad
Spring is when the new grass comes up and says hey, hey, hey, hey.
Be dizzy now and turn your head upside down and see how the world looks upside down
Be dizzy now and turn a cartwheel and see the good earth through a cartwheel.
Tell your feet the alphabet
Tell your feet the multiplication table
Tell your feet where to go, and watch ‘em go and come back
Can you dance a question mark?
Can you dance an exclamation mark?
Can you dance a couple of commas?
And bring it to a finish with a period?
Can you dance like the wind is pushing you?
Can you dance like you are pushing the wind?
Can you dance like slow wooden heels??
And then change to bright and singing silver heels.
Such nice feet, such good feet.
So lazy as grass grows and rivers run
Silver lakes like blue porcelain plates
And snakes of winding rivers
You can see ‘em on a map.
Why we got geography?
Because we go from place to place, because the earth used to be flat and had four corners, and you could jump off from any of the corners.
But now the earth is not flat any more.
Now it is round all over. Now it is a globe, a ball, round all over, and we would all fall off it and tumble away into space if it wasn’t for the magnetic Poles. And when you dance it is the North Pole or the South Pole pulling on your feet like magnets to keep your feet on the earth.
And that’s why we got geography.
And it’s nice to have it that way.
Why does duh Mississippi River wind and wind?
Why, dat’s easy. She wind so she git where she wanna go.
Mississippi, Rappahannock, Punxatawney.
Spell out their names with your heels.
Where duh towns uh Punkatawney and Mauk Chunk?
Why, yeanh day’s bof in Pennsylvan-ee-eye-ay.
And dat’s why we git geography.
Left foot, tweedle-dum – right foot tweedle-dee, here they go.
When Yankee Doodle came to town, wat wuz he a ridin’ on?
A buffalo? A elephant? A horse?
No, no, no, no. A Pony it wuz, a Pony. That’s right.
Giddi-ap, Giddi-ap, Giddi-ap.