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Cheryl was in Italy alone. In the time before Emerson arrived, she spent many quiet hours reading and observing. She wrote this poem as she stood at the bedroom window gazing out into the valley on a late March morning. She sent the poem to Emerson in California and he immediately began writing a melody to go with the moody words.

It was one of the first times that we were apart, yet we found a way to continue our processes despite the distance. It was a sweet reminder of how Tuscany inspires and brings out the poetry in life. And, how you don't need to be there to feel the magic of it all.

Check out our related story at Uncommon Promise

And our video called "Winters End"


Just beyond the dark contour of the ridge
That holds the valley in rise wispy clouds
Angel-hair plucked by nimble unseen fingers
Into peaks and smoky swirls

The wind carries the line northernly
A slow-burning fuse
Simmering to its end in nearby Borgo San Lorenzo

Dusk simultaneously makes its claim on the day
In turn obscuring and revealing
The twinkling lights of Santa Brigida and Trebbio Castle

How many in these heavy March days have witnessed this scene
Did a melancholy Beatrice sit at her window
And trace the lines of the distant hills
Was Dante distracted from his words
With this weighty sense of the day’s moody presence
Did Leonardo postpone or make his fateful leap
in the nearby woods on a day like this
A day like this

Maybe they are not really clouds at all
Perhaps the hills and valley sigh
Exhaling a moist heavy breath at winter’s end

Exhaling a moist heavy breath at winter’s end


from The Way to Love, track released July 1, 2006
Cheryl Martlage - Lyrics and vocals
Emerson Martlage - Music, guitar and vocals
Inspiration - The Val d'Inferno, early spring


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Cheryl and Emerson Martlage San Diego, California

At the age of 48, and after 25 years of marriage, we headed to a secluded town for 6 weeks, to create a new relationship and begin again.

When we arrived as if by magic, we co-wrote our first song ever— "Never Sleep," evoking the mystery and magic of the new adventure. Twenty years later, we're still making music. Join us on our musical storytelling as the adventure continues to unfold
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