Dear Lieder

for soprano, bass, mandola, viola, cello, and piano

Text by Cynthia Fogg

premiered October 11, 2020
Bridges Hall, Claremont, California

The text for “Second Term Plans” is taken directly from a recent Hannity/Trump “interview.” “The Ballad of Doonbeg” is the true story Trump’s golf club in Ireland whose endangerment by climate change prompted Trump to sue County Clare. “Greta Speaks” pits Trump’s lazy vitriol against 16 year old Greta Thunberg’s insightful and passionate outcry. ”November Premembrance” is speculative time-scrambling travel to post-election November, with encouragement to have voted. Dear Lieder is gratefully dedicated to the memory of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.


I. Second Term Plans
Sean Hannity: What’s at stake in this election as you compare and contrast, and what is one of your top priority items for a second term?

Donald Trump: Well, one of the things that will be really great… You know, the word experience is still good. I always say talent is more important than experience. I’ve always said that, but the word experience is a very important word. It’s a very important meaning. I never did this before. I never slept over in Washington.

I was in Washington, I think, 17 times. All of a sudden, I’m president of the United States. You know the story. I’m riding down Pennsylvania Avenue with our First Lady and I say, “This is great.”

But I didn’t know many people in Washington, it wasn’t my thing. I was from Manhattan from New York. Now I know everybody, and I have great people in the administration. You make some mistakes. An idiot like Bolton, all he wanted to do is drop bombs on everybody. You don't have to drop bombs on everybody.


II. The Ballad of Doonbeg
Let me tell about a story ‘bout a man named Don,
Love those girls, barely kept his britches on
He loved playing golf, but even more fun
He loved buying property to make a buck from.
CHORUS: buying property to make a buck from.

Well, in Twenty-Fourteen, Donny found him some land
A golf course he was wild to expand.
A struggling golf club in Ireland.
A place named Doonbeg, in Ireland.
CHORUS : A place named Doonbeg

This place was just about under water
With storms doing way more damage than they oughter
Two days before the deal was beyond doubt,
Well along came a storm and washed things out.

Eight miles of coast all eroded.
I reckon that Trump, he just exploded!
The worst thing of all, so I’ve been told
Was the damage done to 3 golf holes.
CHORUS: The damage done to 3 golf holes!
3 holes, 3 holes! The storm washed out the 3 holes!

And Donny he saw with bigly pain
Trawls of dollars, flowing down the drain.
and Trump you know loves walls and all
and we all know he‘s never lacked for gall.

Not just one wall – he wanted two!
Too bad for neighbors if it ruined the view
Three thousand feet of wall, dear souls,
All to protect them three golf holes.
CHORUS: Two hundred thousand tons of rock, I’m told
to protect them 3 golf holes!

So Donnie, he sued to determine who’d
Put up that wall to protect it all.
Against –this may seem a bit deranged –
Yessirree, against climate change.
CHORUS: what, climate change?
Yes, climate change!

Trump’s lawyers said “The sea water is clearly rising. Mr. Trump’s property stands to be forever damaged without the wall.”
“In our view, it could be reasonably expected that the rate of sea level rise might become twice of that presently occurring.”

“So get this straight:” Trump said, irate:
“As the climate warms, we’ll have more storms
From sea level rise, it’s no surprise
Effects could double before your eyes.”

This is the guy who yanked us out
Of the Paris Accord without a doubt.

The Irish government said flat no,
But Trump was determined to get some dough!
So he moved to see if he could snare
Some bucks for a wall from the County of Clare.

The County of Clare said “Soak your head.”
That’s mild, compared to what environmentalists said!
Walls could cause water to cause harm
To beaches, dunes, and neighboring farms.

Walls are ugly, and walls aren’t green!
You just can’t put a wall between
The water and holes 1, 9, and 18.

“If you can’t take the storms, than move those holes.”
But Trump, he said, “There’s nothing doin’”
When the going gets tough, the Trumps get suin’.

“No one’s going to mess with my bankrolls,
There’s no way I’ve going to move those holes.”

So this transpired in Two Thousand Sixteen
And it’s still going on, from the last that I’ve seen.
He fights for the wall, & fights again
The people say no & they won’t give in
But if there’s one thing about this guy we’ve discovered:
He says one thing and means another.

So the next time Donny starts to talk like this:
“Fiction! Fake News! A con job! A myth!
Stupid madness! Fortune tellers! Prophets of doom!
They flush the toilets fifteen times! Windmills cause fumes!
They took away my hairspray! They’ll take anything that’s fun
They’ll take away your oil, your gas, your religion, and your guns!”

Next time he calls it Total Fiction, Fake News, a Chinese hoax!
Step back and just recall the tale of Doonbeg, folks!

- Cynthia Fogg


III. Greta Speaks
Trump: The whole climate crisis is not only Fake News, it’s Fake Science. There is no climate crisis, there’s weather and climate all around the world, and carbon dioxide is the main building block of all life.

Greta: You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. And yet I'm one of the lucky ones.

Trump: She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!

Greta: People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing.

Trump: With 2.5 MILLION jobs added in May, we're on the way to an incredible period of growth!

Greta: We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!”

Trump: Don’t let the dollar sucking wise guys fool you. The climate changes, but it’s back and forth, back and forth. If something’s changing, it will change back.

Greta: You are not mature enough to tell it like is. Even that burden you leave to us children.

Trump: I have a very good brain and I’ve said a lot of things.

Greta: I don't want you to listen to me. I want you to listen to the scientists. For more than 30 years, the science has been crystal clear.

Trump: Right now we're the cleanest we've ever been. China and India and Russia do absolutely nothing.

Greta: You are failing us. But the young people are starting to understand your betrayal. The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us, I say: We will never forgive you.


IV. November Premembrance
Dear November, especially three,
I have a favor to ask of thee.
Dear November, especially third,
Just wandering, wondering, what will have occurred –

Can you give us a hint, can you give us a clue?
What will have happened when we will have gotten to you?
(Past November two?)

The present is here, but the future is there.
Can you pull the past from the future, out of thin air?
Can you just give a glint, or a hint, of what will have been?
Can we just start again, and wipe the slate clean?

If “it is what it is,” as a great statesman once said,
Will it be what it might have been? And how many dead?

Will those who keep mum have stopped covering their butts?
Will the dumb have been empowered to speak up with guts?
Will those who have cowered, yet speak truth to power?
Will they finally have soured, and told him he’s nuts?

And what of covid, our virulent friend,
What is going to have been destined to have been that plague’s end?

Sink back, with soft breezes, perhaps that soothe,
Slink back to us with whispers of comforting truth.

Will reluctant Republicans somehow have dared
To have done something positive, causative,
Not just have stared?
Will relief have had a chance?
Will truth have had a prayer?


If it hasn’t, then, what will have been our defense???
Let’s all have stopped this nonsense!!!
Let’s all have used comMON sense!

Have spoken out! Have risen up!!!
Have joined the Resistance!
Have broken out of imprisoned thought!
Have quashed mere indifference!!!!

And in November, premember:
If you don’t like the way things might surely be going to have been,
and you’re tired of having dealt with an administration that only is going to have cared about nothing except about how to have saved its own skin,

If you will have wanted to have been someone who might have stepped up and have answered the call,
and you’re soon to have been tired of watching the lying, the economy, the disease rate, the state of our democracy, our standing in the world, and our self-respect as a nation all in free fall –

If we were not to have been going to be sure to have been certain to have been driven to be inspired to be unflaggingly unflinchingly unswervingly determined to have been
hellbent on having gotten our vote cast –

Some beautiful day, when the inscrutable future will have become the past,
Despite the worst voting scams ever promoted,

- Cynthia Fogg