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You Birth the Seeds (2023)

for SATB choir, piano | 00:05:00

by Melissa Dunphy | text by Zeina Azzam

Commissioned by the Alexandria Choral Society.

You Birth the Seeds
By Zeina Azzam

To our daughters

Do not mistake our white hair for weariness.
We’ve earned and love
each snowy strand and coil.

Look up to see the ample rainclouds
greening open fields, and think of us.
We birthed the seeds and roused the reeds to sing.

We trust the luminous scales of justice,
gripped and safe in our hands.
Behold and cherish them as gleaming guiding stars.

Honor the dark days—they remind us
there is no morning without night.
You have the choice: resist, persist, stand tall, find worth.

Now, you’re the wafting silk in golden stalks of corn.
You birth the seeds and rouse the reeds to sing.
You birth the seeds and rouse the reeds to sing.

We summon you to safeguard the field and home
we fought so hard to build.
They are your rightful breath, dignity, sun, and joy.

Artwork by Tanya Hart (arripay).


  • 06 May, 2023: Alexandria Choral Society at Westminster Presbyterian Church, Alexandria, VA