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When You Wake, for piano and marimba, is based on an African-American lullaby, the text of which follows. The second verse refers to the plight of the slave woman who is forced to care for her master’s children—the ones who will have all the pretty little horses—while her own children are left to fend for themselves. I drew on the image of the abandoned child to compose a piece about child abuse and recovery. 

Hushabye, don’t you cry

 Go to sleepy, little baby.

 When you wake, you shall have

 All the pretty little horses.

 Blacks and bays,

 dapples and grays,

 All the pretty little horses.

Way out yonder

in the meadow

lies a poor little lambie.

Bees and butterflies

are picking at its eyes;

Poor little thing

is crying “mammie.”

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