Deserted - (2009)    

Madison Cawein

for medium voice and piano


The old house leans upon a tree
Like some old man upon a staff:
The night wind in its ancient porch
Sounds like a hollow laugh.

The heaven is wrapped in flying clouds
As grandeur cloaks itself in gray:
The starlight flitting in and out,
Glints like a lanthorn ray.     [ 1 ]

The dark is full of whispers. Now
A fox-hound howls: and through the night,
Like some old ghost from out its grave,
The moon comes misty white.

[ 3 pages, circa 3' 20" ]

Madison Cawein


Madison Cawein (1865-1914) was a Midwestern American poet whose poem "Waste Land" has been linked with T. S. Eliot's later "The Waste Land," as the earlier written Cawein texts seem to be very close to Eliot's work. Known as the "Keats of Kentucky," Cawein published an astounding 1,500 poems across 36 books.



A falling musical motif "leans" downward, with rising phrases in the vocal line which only succumb to dropping back again.



The score for Deserted is available as a free PDF download, though any major commercial performance or recording of the work is prohibited without prior arrangement with the composer. Click on the graphic below for this piano-vocal score.







[ 1 ]     Lanthorn is an archaic word for lantern, from its root, horn, used as the sides of such lighting which has a transparent or translucent case for holding a light and protecting it from wind and weather.