but the other day


but the other day - (2008)    

E. E. Cummings

for low or medium voice and piano


but the other
day i was passing a certain
gate rain
fell as it will 

in spring.....


(for the remainder of this text, please consult any one of the many printed and electronic sources)


 Originally published as "but the other," as "III" in FIVE POEMS in The Dial, Volume 68, Number 5 (May 1920). New York: The Dial Publishing Company, Inc. A partial facsimile of the Dial publication of FIVE POEMS may be seen at the University of Virginia Library's Electronic Text Center web site.


[ 4 pages, circa 3' 20" ]

E. E. Cummings


tessitura for low and medium voices


The opening gesture of the seven of the scale rising to the tonic and beyond is thematic for the seeming seriousness of the text's emphasis on death which would reach up to snuff out the "pink hollyhock existence" of life. "...rain fell as it will in spring" washes away the more somber mood with a bell-like gesture to emulate Cummings' words, "as if god's flowers were / pulling upon bells of / gold."



The two musical gestures play out one against the other, as the "rain" which gives way to bells is replaced again by the darker mood, with a final reprise of "rain" ending this vignette of a street side view of the little old lady's "gentle window," gate and flowers.




The score for but the other day is newly engraved and edited according to the text published in 1920 as found at the University of Virginia Library's Electronic Text Center, and is available in three keys for low, medium and high voices as a free PDF download, though any major commercial performance or recording of the work is prohibited without prior arrangement with the composer. Click on the graphic below for this piano-vocal score.


but the other day

edition for low voice


but the other day

edition for medium voice