A Few Doors Down
Your haunting notes flowed through my window
On the back of the chilling mist.
There was a mellow warmth in your tone;
I knew you were singing all alone.
I took in all those lines you'd kissed
And blown out to the world.
You stopped, but I still heard them
For I'd taken them as my own.
I don't know what Jenny was singing that day, but it was probably something she'd written. I probably shared the poem with her, a kind of reciprocal gift, and I imagine I was silly enough think it worth sharing, and she was silly enough to think it good. And if you were ever a student at Covenant College, you probably know exactly what kind of day it was, when that cloudy mist that shrouds the campus and blots out the world slides through your window and begins to take over your room. I loved that school, but the weather was formidable.
Jennifer graduated that May and I lost touch with her. The one time I saw her after that, while I was still at the college, she seemed distant and changed. Angry, lost. And as we often do with people who change on us, I held onto the Jenny I'd known, and I did that by keeping her music.
One evening we two sat in the dilapidated wooden building that passed for the college's practice rooms, looking over a song she'd written called "Moonbeam."
Jenny wasn't a great music writer but she had heart. Most of the piece is clunky and poorly written. She wanted me (a pianist of sorts) to embellish and improve it, which was way beyond me. But I kept the piece because I keep things. I've had it for thirty-four years. I pull it out every few years and play through it. It has one especially beautiful portion that (for me) redeems all the rest.
The only way to share it with you is with a recording, which I will attempt to do. If I succeed in posting it here, please forgive its poor quality. I hope you can hear the lovely interplay of piano and vocal lines. It's simple, but really lovely. The poem is by Wm. Zieglar. I can find nothing of him online. Jenny wrote the music.
To Jennifer, wherever you are, I want you to know that your music made a deep impression and continues to do so. Music does that. Poetry does that.
If I were the sunlight
Through your window in the morning I'd shine.
But then I'd miss you in the night,
And that's my favorite time.
If I were a moonbeam
Glowing from above,
I'd shine my way into your dreams
And offer you my love.
Offer you my love.
Love is all I have to give.