Rubble Becomes Art

Music + Poetry = Songs

In celebration of its 20th season, Pan Harmonia commissioned composer Dosia McKay to create an innovative music and poetry fusion work for voice, flute, bassoon and guitar. “Rubble Becomes Art,” a triptych featuring the poetry of Sally Atkins, Valerie Foote and Cathy Larson Sky is about healing, reconciliation, and transformation.

Read more here: NFA Flutist Quarterly
Learn more about the project, listen to the poets and composer HERE


“Rubble becomes Art” along with music by Katherine Hoover, Frederik Holm and Gabriel Fauré

Kate Steinbeck flute • Brittnee Siemon mezzo-soprano
Amy Brucksch guitar • Rosalind Buda bassoon / Nathan Leyland cello*


Friday, April 24 • 5:30 pm St Philips Episcopal Church, Brevard*

Sunday, May 17 • 2 pm Chamber Music Raleigh, North Carolina Museum of Art

The Poems

Dark Sister, Sing – by Sally Atkins

Dark Sister, sing to me
Sing a song of longing
To see beneath the surface
Rubble of neglect
Human hunger for bread
And kindness.

Dark Sister, sing to me
A song of sacred rage
To shatter the walls
Of fear and ignorance
Refuse the bitter cup
Of violence.

Sing to us, Dark Sister
Sing a song of sadness
Then let us lick
With our own tongues
The wounds of poverty
And privilege.

Dark Sister, sing to us
Sing a song of healing
Offer prayers to Earth and Sky
In the old language of humility
In the rhythms of breath
And seasons.

Sing then to me, Dark Sister
Sing to me of wisdom
A thousand ways to listen
To stones and mountains
To the teachings of the trees
And to each other.

Sing through me, Dark Sister
A song of reparation
Teach me again
The ancient songs of welcome
The chants that open hearts
To the stranger.

Dark Sister
Make of these words
A ceremony of forgiveness
In the beauty of the singing
May we find ourselves holy
And fall in love
With the world again.

The Secret – by Valerie Foote

Humiliation gnaws away at my belly like a blind rat, raw and senseless.
It is the sickening experience of ultimate intrusion and abandonment
that i thought only comes before death.
My ghosts are the demons, that gather to feed on my misery.

In the morning the greyness settles in the still house.
To the front door, i turn the knob into the sun.
It still lives and i am grateful.
i follow her dance to the open road.
It’s then the man calls to me and his smile lulls me.
Hello peanut, he says.
i am the tiny peanut waiting to be devoured.

Why peanut? I think, over the years that have past between us.
The deserted carriage house is full of smells and stillness.
i am special i tell myself
because I caught his smile.
His fingers filter through my hair and a breeze ruffles the pansies with their
frozen smiles
they will keep smiling through my shame.
Their silence will keep the secret in the years to come.

Fifty years later and I tell the gardener No,
Don’t plant those pansies in my garden!
They still nauseate me with their false smiles.
They saw and they never told.

Lemniscates – by Cathy Larson Sky

A mule deer and her fawn graze on fallen apples.
Our eyes meet and hold, then
their long necks bend again to fruit.
My boot rakes a rain-soaked patch of mint.
Green scent rises, tinged with forgiveness.
In ancient Peche-Merle caves, hand prints in red ochre dance on scorched walls. Underground pools rise, soak crevice to ceiling with bright algae.
Soft now, a dream.

Shrill cries. A legion of eagles passes overhead, blocks the sun.
Grey feathers float toward earth.
Houses begin to shake and sing with the voices
of the dead. Dishes tumble from their shelves.

In Africa they say of breakage spirit has been set free.
In the metropolis sulfurous bubbles explode.
Arctic winds clear the stink. Butterfly bushes
burst the concrete, flutter with lapis,
Jelly-roll land writhes like a glittering emerald serpent,
a belly dancer’s sequined girdle. Fearless children
ride its waves, shouting till nightfall.

Sun returns, a kindergarten drawing, benevolent cheeks turnip-round. Its lemon rays warm all. No more you, me, them.
Rubble becomes art. How we live.
A kind of thick bread,
perfumed with herbs.

Kate Steinbeck and Dosia McKay with “Rubble Becomes Art” completed. July 2019
The project announcement and poetry reading at Malaprops Bookstore/Café in Asheville, also featured a talk by Dosia McKay about her creative process. March 1, 2019

“Rubble becomes Art,” was created with support from NCAC and through the generosity of Pan Harmonia Donors.