close box


The Singing Rooms


Poems by Jeanne Minahan

Music by Jennifer Higdon


Three Windows: Two Versions of the Day


Three windows offer two versions of the day,

the first: cool and sweet, a blue cascade

of watered light,

the second: bright heat barely held back

by the venetian blind.


Inside, the blue falls across

the small kitchen (a breeze

at your back), and angles

into the living room where

the table and two chairs swim.


The couch, the desk, bookshelves,

the bed, they submit

each morning to the thin cloths of light

that drape, linger and slide

across them; its shape their shape.


Both are here, though you

cannot be:

that heat, that long shade of blue.



The Interpretation of Dreams


If I told you my dream

(the one on a boat),

if I told you how I read

your dream with a cello:

a new laugh

an old hush.



Things Aren’t Always


Not every newborn cries in hunger;

not every dog barks in alarm.

Musicians, on a whim,

break our hearts,

lovers take the blame.





Once I slept all night without dreaming

in the body of a small summer flower:

buttercup, yellow and damp,

circling me with warmth.


And I’ve taken tears from an earthen bowl,

clay pressed in a curve of bone:

a basin borne of rib and hip.

I drank and sang in sweet drunkenness.


Once I dressed in luminous dust

and set myself spinning in the Pleiades

just to be unseen among the seen.


I admit I’ve listened to the whistling of God,

kissed lips that were not mine or yours.


If I tell you these things now,

you must hold them in your palms

as I have seen you hold water:

cupped and uncontained.


Give me such forgiveness

as that:


liquid, poured out,


for being so clear.



History Lesson


How brief the pause

            between despair and comfort


                                                            How eternal.


How small the space

            between the window and frame.


                                                            How cold the wind.


[Teach me which of the stars have shifted.

Tell me where error crept in.  Show me

the overlooked weed, infection, accounting mistake.

Adjust my glasses, hearing, fingertips.

Point me to the abandoned faith.]


When the day dims

            light the largest fire, cliff high.


And when they tell the story

            of these sad times                       



we lit that fire

            to spare the other ships

            these treacherous rocks.



A Word with God


An áit a bhfuil do chroí is ann a thabhaifas do chosa thú.

“Your feet will bring you to where your heart is” (Irish Proverb)


And, finally we ask ourselves,

where did we spend our days, whose voice

turned our heads, hushed, thrilled,

entered, lingered, left us? 


(Standing on a far shore,

uncertain of the hour or day

in a quiet not quiet.)


I walk towards you, I walk away;

my feet pull me back.

Wild One, your magnetic love

draws me (polar eclipse and warm),

you are the paradox towards which

I tend, you are the ache,

I don’t need to speak,

you are the name of all names.



0 | 0