Poem by William Dickey (1928-1994)


     On the white road

in dust of summer

someone’s arriving


     apricots bend

from the wall garden

     welcoming summer


     someone’s arriving

clothed only in light

     his hands empty


his eyes full of islands

     stroked by blue ocean

          in the summer air


violent and singing

on the empty road

someone’s arriving


the white light

cherishing his step

and his naked stare

(repeat 1st two verses)



Poem by Lily Nussbaum


I settle on my pillow

and listen to the willow creek


as I do every night

but tonight

I hear no willow

Nor the cricket symphony

That sings me to sleep.

I hear no sound

not the birds

the sighing wind

my father snoring


I suddenly see a light


a brilliant light of stretching color

I remember the date

The end of summer

beginning of fall

The changing seasons happen overnight

I whisper

into the light.


in a flash

there is no light.

The black of night

has reappeared.

The quiet lingers

though seasons passed

and now I fall


at last.



Music & lyrics by Mira J. Spektor


I was very young and woke up one morning

The sun was bright outside

My mother came in with bottle of milk

Said: “We’re going for a ride”

We left our house, our dog, our cat,

My favorite doll and toy

She packet up the rest in her old car

And left behind her joy


But then she said:

Have songs will travel

While the roads & sky unravel

Amour, amor, Liebe, lubov

All my songs sing of love


I grew up and she was right

A song can get you through the night

A song can keep you safe upon a star

And keep you sane all through a war

With a song you’ll find love to keep

And then sing a child to sleep


You can hum it, you can drum it,

You can croon or cry

And if at night you’re all alone

Just whisper into the telephone:


Listen to my songs as you travel

While the days and night unravel

Amour, amor, liebe, lubov

All of my songs sing of love


I’ll grow old, the earth is cold

I what country can we sleep

And where in this house are hidden all

The mem’ries we wanted to keep

But then I hear:

Have songs will travel

Suns and moon unravel

Amour, amor, Liebe, lubov

All my songs are for you, my love!


Mira J. Spektor copyright Georgina Press BMI



Three German Songs on Poems byJohann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Translated by Phillip L. Miller (1749-1832)




Über meines Liebchens Äugeln

stehn verwundert alle Leute;

Ich, der Wissende dagegen

Weiss recht gut, was das bedeute.


Denn es heisst: ich liebe diesen

Und nicht etwa den und jenen.

Lasset nur, ihr lieben Leute,

Euer Wundern, euer Sehen!


Ja, mit ungeheuren Mächten

Blicket sie wohl in die Runde;

Doch sie sucht nur zu verkünden

Ihn die nächste süße Stunde.




My beloved’s eyes

astonish everyone

I, the authority on the subject

know very well what this means.


For she is saying: I love this one

and not at all that one or the other

Leave off, good people

your wondering and your desire!


Yes, with uncanny powers

and she looks about her;

yet she only means to announce

to him the next sweet hour.




So lasst mich scheinen, bis ich werde;

Zieht mir das weiße Kleid nicht aus!

Ich eile von der schönen Erde

hinab in jenes feste Haus.


Dorth ruh’ ich eine kleine Stille.

Dann öffnet sich der frische Blick;

Ich lasse dann die reine Hülle,

den Gürtel und den Kranz zurück.


Und jenes himmlischen Gestalten,

sie fragen nicht nach Mann und Weib.

Und keine Kleider, keine Falten

umgeben den verklärten Leib.


Ewar lebt’ ich ohne Sorg’ und Mühe,

doch fühlt’ ich tiefen Schmerz genug.

Von Kummer altert’ ich zu frühe;

Macht mich auf ewig wieder jung!




So let me seem, until I become so;

do not divest me of my white garment!

I am hastening from the beautiful earth

down to that impregnable house.


There I shall rest a little in tranquill

Then a fresh vision will open up;

I shall leave behind then the pure raime

the girdle and the wreath.


And those heavenly beings,

do not concern themselves with man and wife

and no garments, no robes

cover the transfigured body. {cont--->}

True, I have lived without trouble and

yet I have felt deep pain enough.

Through sorrow I have aged too early;

O make me forever young again!




Durch Feld und Wald zu schweifen,

Mein Liedchen wegzupfeifen,

So geht’s von Ort zu Ort!

Und nach dem Takte reget,

Und nach dem Mass beweget

Sich alles an mir fort.


Ich kann sie kaum erwarten,

Die erste Blum’ im Garten,

Die erste Blüt’ am Baum.

Und kommt der Winter wieder,

Sing’ ich noch jenen Traum.


Ich sing’ in der Weite,

Auf’s Eises Lang’ und Breite,

Da blüht der Winter schon!

Auch diese Blüte schwindet,


Und neue Freude findet

Sich auf bebauten Höhn.


Denn wie ich bei der Linde

Das junge Völkchen finde,

Sogleich erreg’ ich sie.

Der stumpfe Bursche bläht sich,

Das steife Mädchen dreht sich

nach meiner Melodie.




To ramble through field and forest,

to pipe away my little song,

so it goes from place to place!

and to my beat

and to my measure

everything moves.

I can hardly wait

for the first flower in the garden,

the first bloom on the tree.

And when winter comes again,

I am still singing of that dream.


I sing it far and wide,

over the length and breath of ice,

and winter blossoms beautifully!

These flowers also vanish,

and new happiness is found

in the upland farms.


For when under the linden

I find the young people,

at once I excite them.

The dull boy struts,

the stiff girl turns

to my melody.



Music & lyrics by Mira J. Spektor


Come, rain in the heat of summer

when pens & pianos go dry,

we sit on lawns or beaches

to watch the sky.


Wet birds, damp rabbits,

rain sings on the coming grass.

City children, old park-benchers,

storms & hurricanes will pass.


Black rain fills the gutters -

we long for snow,

on a long road

to a village below.


Come rain, in the anxious season

we shelter in an old room:

To love & read each other,

to weave a memory loom.


Come rain, in the heat of summer

shelter is a giant tree -

when the rain stops we’ll run

into the sea.



Poem by Phyllis McGinley (1905-1978)


This is the day which the Lord hath made

Shining like Eden, absolved from sin,

Three parts glitter to one part shade:

Let us be glad and rejoice therein.


Everything’s scoured brighter than metal,

Everything sparkles as pure as glass:

The leaf on the poplar, the zinnia’s petal,

The wing of the bird and the blade of the grass.


All, all is luster. The glossy harbor

Dazzles the gulls that gleaming fly.

Glimmer the wasp on the grape in the arbor,

Glisten the clouds in the polished sky.


Tonight - tomorrow - the leaf will fade,

The waters tarnish the dark begin.

But This is the day which the Lord hath made:

Let us be glad and rejoin therein.


c. 1951, 1969 from “The Love Letters

of Phyllis McGinley” Viking Press



Music, French lyrics & translations Mira J. Spektor

(Written during a snowstorm in St Moritz Switzerland)


Il neige dans mon coeur

Il fait froid, le bonheur

Se glace, je grelotte sans raison


Dehors est le soleil,

le Printemps qui s’éveille

Mais mon coeur ignora les saisons:

C’est parce que tu n’es pas la

C’est parce que tu n’es pas la

Seule sans toi il fait froid

Il fait si froid, sans toi.

Mais quand tu reviendras,

Je ne serais qu’à toi

Mon coeur s’épanouir de chaleur

Dehors ca peut neiger

Le vent peut bien hurler

Mais nous sentirons que le bonheur

C’est parce que je suis a toi

C’est parce que je suis a toi

Il fait bon dans tes bras

Je veux rester dans tes bras




It’s snowing in my heart

It’s cold, happiness

freezes, I’m shaking

without reason

Outside is the sun,

Spring wake up/But my

heart ignores the seasons

That’s because you’re away

That’s because you are away

Alone, without you I’m cold

I’m so cold without you.

But when you’ll come back

I’ll be yours alone / My

heart will bloom with heat

Outside it can snow

The wind may howl

But we will only feel joy

That’s because I’m yours

That’s because I am yours

It feels good in your arms

I want to stay in your arms



Music & Lyrics by Mira J. Spektor

(From the Feature Film High Stakes and the Musical The Housewives’ Cantata)


Take me home tonight

On a long cab ride,

Through cold and rainy streets,

Take me home tonight.


I’ll give you hot choc’late and brandy,

Share old jokes and diet candy,

And then take out the Bloomingdale sheets.

Take me home tonight

And tomorrow when we wake,

After croissants and coffee,

We’ll go joggin ‘round the lake.


Sunrise in Manhattan comes up real slow:

Through hazy sun skylight-windows glow

And outside our morning windows will be

Brand new seasons for you and me -


So take me home tonight

On a long cab ride,

Through steamy summer heat,

Take me home tonight.

I’ll give you brownies and lemonade,

Beaches and babies, sunshine and shade:

I’ll run to your forever, whenever we meet.


All this and much more

I promise will come ‘round right

If you take me home,

If you take me home tonight -


Take me home tonight!



Adapted from a poem by Lord George Byron (1788-1824) from the Chamber Opera Villa Diodati, produced by Bank Street Films and released by Albany Records.


When we two parted

In silence and tears,

Half broken hearted

To sever for years,

Pale grew thy cheek and cold,

Colder thy kiss.

Truly that hour foretold

Sorrow to this.


The dew of the morning

Sunk chill on my brow,

It felt like the warning

Of what I feel now.

They name thee before me

A knell to my ears -

A shudder comes o’er me

Why wert thou so dear?


In secret we met

In silence I grieve.

Thy heart will forget,

Thy spirit deceive

If I should meet the

After long years,

How should I greet thee?

With silence and tears,

Silence and tears.



Music & lyrics Mira J. Spektor


Words, words, words!

Words, wolves, water, witches,

everything has a name.

Rivers, rabbits and rocks have riddles,

to solve them is a game.

But if you want to solve them,

if you want to know -

Look in the old game book:

And call me, call me,

I’ll run to you,

count all your sheep,

sing you to sleep.


Just call me, call me

my love is true,

the one I love

has always been you.


A.B.C., asters, bluebells, a chimera,

have a secret name.

X.Y.Z. for xylophone

or if you find a zebra

to touch it is a game.

But if you want to touch me,

if you want to hold me -

Look in the old name book:


And call me, call me,

I’ll run to you,

count all your sheep,

sing you to sleep.


Call me, call me -

Grey skies or blue,

the one I love

has always been you,

the one I love

will always be you.



Music & lyrics Mira J. Spektor

From the play Galina Lives by Bernice Lee


Outside the snow is falling down

The branches softly sigh

A wise old owl hoots in a tree

A rabbit hops over me

While I will sing a lulla-lullaby


Sleep softly as the night goes by

While waiting for the spring

A bear goes dancing on a hill

A deer is standing very still

While I will sing to you a lullaby


Outside the wind is dying down

The moon is riding high

And you, my love, are in my arms

And I will never let you go

While the long winter time goes by,

        goes by.



Poem by Lily Nussbaum


My grandmamma is a witch you see,

but of course she is quite dear to me,

as grandmamma should always be.

But my love for her is quite clear, you see,

‘Cause she taught me how to make Paracheech tea

And here is what she said to me:

“Ordinary tea is this and that and brown little twig-like things

But Paracheech tea is a rainbow hat and crystal butterfly wings

You first take a piece of cheese

to melt into fondue

Then stir in two feathers of two geese,

and eyelashes of a gnu;

Then water from a hummerfall

and grunches from a strook;

Guppleberries from a Zimmerwalk

Trifankles from the brook.

Then thin it out with Groupa-disease,

thicken it with germs of ennui.

Then stir it up and what do you get?



Paracheech Paracheech tea”



Poem by Mira J. Spektor,

from The Road to November


Indian summer is a state of mind:

It is a time, wrapped in warm air,

when in Autumn we wake to find

the lost season is still out there.


Cold, last night, we bartered fear,

vowed to grow old and be kind

in Autumn - when we wake up to find:

The lost seasons are still out there!


Come, let’s see the beach unwind,

empty of people, filled with air,

seagulls come from everywhere

and all is back that was left behind:

for Indian Summer is a state of mind.



Lyrics Carolyn Balducci,

from Giovanni the Fearless


Love knows no distance,

lovers never ever part,

when you love somebody,

you hold them in your heart!

Turn around, turn around,

I’m here beside you, turn around.


Turn, turn around, I won’t go away

I’ll never leave you, even for a day.

Turn around, turn, turn around,

I’m here beside you, hear what you say.


Ten thousand miles are nothing,

ten years can go by

I know the day is coming

when you’ll walk by my side.

Turn around, turn around,

I’m here beside you, turn around.


Turn, turn around, I won’t go away.

I’ll never leave you, even for a day.

Turn around turn, turn around,

I’m here beside you, just turn around



I see your face before me,

I hear you call my name,

Though you’re not in my arms,

I love you just the same.



Turn around, turn around,

I’m here beside you, turn around.

Turn around, turn around,

I’m here beside you, turn around.



Lyrics Caroline Crippen

Additional lyrics Mira J. Spektor

From mini-musical Give Me Time

(Duet; Jean-Paul Björlin, Tenor)


There are facts of life

That you can’t deny

And the world is rife

With the question “why”

But among the things

I now understand:

Why the robin sings

And the seas touch land


I could fly to the moon

or the top of a mountain,

sail through a typhoon

or float on air,

learn to play the bassoon,

spout like a fountain

as long as I knew

that you were there.


I could travel through time,

win a great battle,

I could solve a crime

or dye my hair,

make up a new rhyme

or swim to Seattle

as long as I knew

that you were there.


Through thick or thin

when the stakes were high

like you were my twin

you could hear my cry,

to my side you flew

so now I know

I can count on you

wherever I go -


We could sail down the Nile,

Indulge a new sin,

I could amass a pile

or play the violin

or simply sing for you

anytime, anywhere,

as long as I knew

that you were there.


I would sing for you

anytime, anywhere

as long as I knew

that you were there -

as long as I knew

that you were there.



Lyrics by June Siegel (1930-2014)

from mini-musical Give Me Time

(Duet; Jean-Paul Björlin, Tenor)


Give me time

Give me time

Give me time

Give me just a little time

I’ve been looking everywhere

Don’t you have a bit to spare

Just a sunset or a dawn

I don’t mind if they are worn

I need time


Buying time

Buying time

Can’t I buy a little time

I have still so much to do

And the world still seems so new

There are things inside my head

That I never even said

Who will hear them when I’m dead?

I need time


Just a few more hours please

You can have my memories

If the world goes by too fast

I can give you back the past


Give me time

Give me time

Give me just a little time

Life’s too brief at any speed

Call it hunger, call it greed

I have still so much to do

And the world still looks so new

Give me time

I need time



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