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i carry your heart

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Note from Composer

Nine years ago, one of my best friends in the world, Omar Crook, got married to another of my best friends, Amy Arms. Omar asked me before the wedding if I would set e.e. Cummings’ iconic poem ‘i carry your heart’ for the ceremony. I tried and tried to find the music in the poetry but came up empty, so instead I did the next best thing: I gave a terrible best man’s speech.

Five and a half years later I was sitting at the piano, working on another piece, and I stumbled on a single music gesture that unlocked the poem for me. That musical gesture is heard first in the opening lines of the poem:

i carry your heart with me.

i carry it in my heart.

i am never without it.

The idea that ‘I’m never without it’ was the core of the piece’s construction. And so, I finally wrote the piece and surprised them with it. I was giving a concert with the Los Angeles Master Chorale and I invited them to attend without giving them any idea what we would perform. We made it through the entire concert and then, as an encore, I announced, “this is for my dear friends Omar Crook and Amy Arms, a gift for their wedding day – a little late.” Now every time I hear it I think of this very intimate love and, very specifically, Omar and Amy.

The Text

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
i fear
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

e.e. cummings, 1894-1962


4.5 minutes

Year of Composition



Boosey & Hawkes


US: Hal Leonard
UK: Musicroom
World: Music Shop Europe
Digital: SheetMusicDirect

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