Poem to Consider: Early in the Morning

Early in the morning
Of a lovely summer day,
As they lowered the bright awning
At the outdoor café,
I was breakfasting on croissants
And café au lait
Under greenery like scenery,
Rue François Premier.
They were hosing the hot pavement
With a dash of flashing spray
And a smell of summer showers
When the dust is drenched away,
Under greenery like scenery,
Rue François Premier.
I was twenty and a lover
And in Paradise to stay,
Very early in the morning
Of a lovely summer day.

— Robert Hillyer  James Caristi

[For a lovely setting of this poem by Ned Rorem, click here.]

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2 thoughts on “Poem to Consider: Early in the Morning

  1. This poem reminds me of the lyrics in some of the songs of one of my favorite singers, Vincent Delerm. It’s a short narrative poem which very nicely catches a moment in time, a feeling, an atmosphere. I don’t like the classical music version. To me this is too simple to be a “lied.” Pop music suits it better. I don’t think it’s necessary to try to find more depth…………unless we want to say that it is these happy moments which make life worthwhile………….AS CREON WOULD!!!!!!!

    • I’m glad that you liked it. I thought that you would.

      I like how it manages to convey that it’s set in Paris without actually saying the words “Paris,” or “France.”

      To me, this poem conveys the sense of an older person looking back on an earlier time that probably wasn’t as wonderful as they remember. It’s more like a wish than a remembrance. Not a happy moment, but a yearning to go back to a time when they were supposed to be happier.

      I like Rorem’s setting, but I agree that it could work as a pop song as well. One of those cafe-type French pop songs with the young fellow quietly strumming, quietly singing to the girls.

      Interesting fact: Rorem was twenty-two when he wrote this music.

      I don’t know anything about Robert Hillyer.

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