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Minahan Songs


Poems by Jeanne Minahan

Music by Andrew Hsu


In the Scriptorium


Night’s ink drained quietly

and left the surprise

of morning, grey-green clouds

swift seeping towards

the emptied page of night.


It is darker now

that the sun has risen;

I am not imagining this.


It’s hard to get a straight answer

from anyone these days


but the new day speaks,

if we listen:

clouds, a bit of rain,

and a weariness that will

not heal with time




Sorrow and All


There’s no end to it

even if you put it away

like a coin in your winter coat

you’ll find it again (with interest),

next snowfall.





Most of it’s thrift:

what one holds back

for another day.

And surely

there could be worse

wind and rain

than this?

But, to reveal

the secret

(which promises

another day)

seems small.

Think of the men

on those dories—

flinging the day’s bait

seaward with the tiller

aimed for shore.



Palm Reader


Now that you’ve read my hand

and traced the river of sorrow there

what breadth, what peace,

what mishap,

how it bends to find a new path

through rock and ash, bone and tissue,

tell me, will it last

(river of sorrow  river of joy),

tell me, will it last,

ask me.



That Summer


It was the season of linen.

Some times I took your hand,

or you, I think,

took mine.


We sauntered in the gardens,

we sunk our heels in sand.

It was the linen of summer

I gathered in my hands.


In winter there was a leaving,

I took my time, I took my time.

I don’t remember grieving,

though I remember your hands.



The Blue Dory


They anchored

the old dory

beside the painter’s studio

in a field of lupins

lavender, pink, rose, yellow, blue,

on a hill that calls out

each morning   each evening

to the sea.


We went there together.


That knowledge

is the catch in my throat

which stutters now

like an oar caught in an oarlock.

Sometimes you make a circle

with your oar in the air

before you find the water.

Sometimes you gasp

but cannot breathe.

Sometimes you’re the dory

or the heaving heart within it,


Sometimes, now,

you’re the sea.




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