Three new works!

Yes, it has been a while since I’ve posted. As that Lennon guy once said, Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans…

However, despite my lack of action on the composition front, Michael Winikoff – that other composer with whom I sometimes collaborate – has thoughtfully put three of my texts to music, and done a beautiful job of all of them.

Deconstruct A Chrysalis

The first, Deconstruct A Chrysalis, is a short poem I wrote a few years back. Michael has set the text for SATSATB. Here is the poem:

deconstruct a chrysalis
unravel the twisted thread
pull apart the gossamer

take a look
nothing inside
but a shrivelled corpse

no pulse, no beating heart
no wings, perhaps the tiniest hint
of a shroud that once might have flown

now the gift is gone

deconstruct the universe
unravel the twisted mind
pull apart the skin, the eyes

take a look
nothing inside
but a shrivelled heart
now pulled apart

Quite grim, but I was going through an angsty-grim phase at the time, and I think the text worked out quite well. Certainly Michael did a great job with the music. You can find the score for free download and performance here: Deconstruct a Chrysalis / Michael Winikoff.

Mona Lisa

The second piece, Mona Lisa, is about that same painting. The painting had made the news a few years back regarding various restoration attempts, and I felt it would be interesting to write something short in poetry. Michael has written the work for SATTBB.

She is there
in smoky hues of black, tan and green
with some white between the edges of the frame
and the listing catch-plate, bearing her name

Visitors. Admirers.

they look:
oh yes….mmm…beautiful…exquisite…
a fine piece of artwork
he really knew what he was doing.
I must buy a print at once –
where’s the souvenir shop?

they don’t see:
her hidden heart
a wooden plank that’s all –
not even canvas.
Rotting all the while.

While the visitors smoked
and the lightbulbs flashed
and the babies screamed
and threw rattles on the carpeted floors

before they slung her in a perspex cage
and hung a crimson barrier on golden stands
and glued the ‘No Smoking’ signs to the walls
in four major languages.

And Esperanto.

Such a small smile:
her eyes, so far away.

The background
semi-formed in the acid colours of a dream
fading into a memory of long dead fingers
twisting the bristles of a brush
and catching a smile then bones,
now dust.

You can check out and freely download the score here: Mona Lisa / Michael Winikoff.


I Know A Place

I wrote I Know A Place quite recently, as the first of what will be a series of poems about childhood experience and innocence. It was inspired by a walk I took down Puddle Alley, which is quite near where I live. The place was so beautiful, and it reminded me of how I used to go “exploring” as a child, and hide away behind trees and bushes in the local park until the streetlights came on and my mother would call me home.

Michael has written I Know A Place for SATB.

I know a place where the wild things grow
I know a place where the wild things grow
There’s an apple tree
From a core
That someone threw away
The fruit is sweet
So sweet
And no-one knows but me

I know a place where the wild things live
I know a place where the wild things live
Down on Puddle alley, where the little river flows
And a mother duck lives With her baby ducklings,
Soft and grey
So quiet
No-one knows but me

I climb along the bank
And sit so quietly
That no-one knows I’m there
I’m hidden safe away
I see the world go by
And no-one knows I’m there
Hidden in my safe and secret magic world

I know a place where the magic lies
I know a place where the magic lies
A world so far away
And still so close to home
I never feel alone
I never am alone
In my secret place
Where the wild things grow.

You can freely download the score for I Know A Place here: I Know A Place / Michael Winikoff.