Aubade – by Xiaoly Li

Painting: “Caught Gentle Beings”
Artist: Henry L. Jones
Mixed Media – 16 x 20 inches – 2019

Featured Composer’s Notes: The music conveys the scene of a warm summer morning on the back deck, with honeysuckle and roses in the landscaped garden and the primary movement being that of birds and insects. A mother and daughter are on the deck, and the daughter’s question hangs as a melody in the air. The answer is neither a definitive “yes” nor “no”, but a sense of comfort ensues as the melody is subsumed into the calm beauty of nature surrounding them.

Original Musical Composition created by Jeff Byers in response to “Aubade.” All rights reserved, 2019


Seven pine trees witness me
on the sundeck. Summer morning.
I turn my back like a turtle
toward the sun. Hummingbird hums,
sucks the honeysuckle. Wasps swarm
the hill of roses dew distilled.
Was it worth 30 years of worry?
my daughter asks. I force a smile.
Light soaks deeper into my body.
Fresh molted goldfinch waits
on the cornflower for his dream-luck.

Xiaoly Li is a poet, photographer and computer engineer who lives in Massachusetts. Prior to writing poetry, she published stories in a selection of Chinese newspapers. Her photography, which has been shown and sold in galleries in Boston, often accompanies her poems. Her poetry is forthcoming or has recently appeared in Rhino, Cold Mountain Review, The Mantle, The Olive Press, J Journal and elsewhere. Her poem ‘Reeducated in a Rural Village in Beijing’ was recently nominated for Best New Poets. Her poem “Spiral” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Xiaoly received her Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute and Masters in computer science and engineering from Tsinghua University in China.