Soprano Dru Rutledge and Pianist Barbara Amell perform George MacDonald's "Baby"

About a year ago, when my son David Elginbrod Lederman was born, I composed a setting of MacDonald's wonderful poem, Baby (see text below). It is sung in this video by soprano Dru Rutledge, who frequently performs with the Portland Opera, accompanied by pianist Barbara Amell (aka, the editor of the acclaimed journal Wingfold). It was Dru's inspired decision to sing the baby's responses up an octave from the adult's lines; and Barbara made significant improvements to the piano line that accompanies Dru's voice. I'm grateful beyond what words can express to her and Barbara for their inspired performance, which is everything a composer could hope for--and more!
--Jess Lederman (


Where did you come from, baby dear?
Out of the everywhere into here.

Where did you get those eyes so blue?
Out of the sky as I came through.

What makes the light in them sparkle and spin?
Some of the starry twinkles left in.

Where did you get that little tear?
I found it waiting when I got here.

What makes your forehead so smooth and high?
A soft hand stroked it as I went by.

What makes your cheek like a warm white rose?
I saw something better than any one knows.

Whence that three-cornered smile of bliss?
Three angels gave me at once a kiss.

Where did you get this pearly ear?
God spoke, and it came out to hear.

Where did you get those arms and hands?
Love made itself into bonds and bands.

Feet, whence did you come, you darling things?
From the same box as the cherubs' wings.

How did they all just come to be you?
God thought about me, and so I grew.

But how did you come to us, you dear?
God thought about you, and so I am here. 

--George MacDonald