Music for Words, Perhaps


Denman Maroney

Innova 717


Music: Denman Maroney

Poetry: W.B. Yeats, Wallace Steven

Featuring: Theo Bleckmann, Shelley Hirsch



Music by Denman Maroney

Poems by W.B. Yeats


1.              The Song of the Happy Shepherd         (5:16)

2.              The Second Coming     (5:20)

3.              The Crazed Moon          (1:02)

4.              The Song of Wandering Aengus             (6:29)

5.              A Drinking Song             (1:10)

6.              A Drunken ManÕs Praise of Sobriety  (1:01)

7.              The Cap and Bells          (4:36)

8.              Three Songs to the One Burden             (4:32)

9.              The Two Trees                 (5:21)

10.           The Lamentation of the Old Pensioner                (1:58)



Music by Denman Maroney

Poem by Wallace Stevens


11.           The Mechanical Optimist            (7:04)

12.           Mystic Garden & Middling Beast          (4:34)

13.           Romanesque Affabulation          (5:26)

14.           The Leader        (3:18)


15.           IÕM YOURS     (5:13)

Music and lyrics by Denman Maroney

Total running time          (62:05)


This is an album of songs I've written over the years, starting with "I'm Yours" in 1979, "A Thought Revolved" in 1982, and "Music for Words, Perhaps" in 1999. I've written others, but these I like especially. "I'm Yours" and "A Thought Revolved" I wrote for Iota Jot Yod, a band I had in New York when I lived there back then (the name is from a poem by H.D. Moe). "I'm Yours" was the first song I ever wrote. It was full of angst until Shelley got ahold of it. "A Thought Revolved" moved me because of Stevens' line, "The poetÉ denies that abstraction is a vice." In 1997, when my father died, my wife, Erin, and I went to Ireland, where her father, and my father's ancestors, came from. To prepare, I read Irish history and literature. Yeats especially I admired. That was the germ of "Music for Words, Perhaps." As the old pensioner says, "I spit into the face of time that has transfigured me."



Poems by W.B. Yeats





The woods of Arcady are dead,

And over is their antique joy;

Of old the world on dreaming fed;

Grey Truth is now her painted toy;

Yet still she turns her restless head:

But O, sick children of the world,

Of all the many changing things

In dreary dancing past us whirled,

To the cracked tune that Chronos sings,

Words alone are certain good.

Where are now the warring kings,

Word be-mockers? — By the Rood

Where are now the warring kings?

An idle word is now their glory,

By the stammering schoolboy said,

Reading some entangled story:

The kings of the old time are dead:

The wandering earth herself may be

Only a sudden flaming word,

In clanging space a moment heard,

Troubling the endless reverie.




Turning and turning in the widening gyre

The falcon cannot hear the falconer;

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere

The ceremony of innocence is drowned;

The best lack all conviction, while the worst

Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;

Surely the Second Coming is at hand.

The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out

When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi

Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert

A shape with lion body and the head of a man,

A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,

Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it

Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.

The darkness drops again; but now I know

That twenty centuries of stony sleep

Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,

And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,

Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?



Crazed through much child-bearing

The moon is staggering in the sky;

Moon-struck by the despairing

Glances of her wandering eye

We grope, and grope in vain,

For children born of her pain.

Children dazed or dead!

When she in all her virginal pride

First trod upon the mountain's head

What stir ran through the countryside

Where every foot obeyed her glance!

What manhood led the dance!

Fly-catchers of the moon,

Our hands are blenched, our fingers seem

But slender needles of bone;

Blenched by that malicious dream

They are spread wide that each

May rend what comes in reach.



I went out to the hazel wood,

Because a fire was in my head,

And cut and peeled a hazel wand,

And hooked a berry to a thread;

And when white moths were on the wing,

And moth-like stars were flickering out,

I dropped the berry in a stream

And caught a little silver trout.

When I had laid it on the floor

I went to blow the fire aflame,

But something rustled on the floor,

And some one called me by my name:

It had become a glimmering girl

With apple blossom in her hair

Who called me by my name and ran

And faded through the brightening air.

Though I am old with wandering

Through hollow lands and hilly lands,

I will find out where she has gone,

And kiss her lips and take her hands;

And walk among long dappled grass,

And pluck till time and times are done

The silver apples of the moon,

The golden apples of the sun.



Wine comes in at the mouth

And love comes in at the eye;

That's all we shall know for truth

Before we grow old and die.

I lift the glass to my mouth,

I look at you, and I sigh.




Come swish around my pretty punk

And keep me dancing still

That I may stay a sober man

Although I drink my fill.

Sobriety is a jewel

That I do much adore;

And therefore keep me dancing

Though drunkards lie and snore.

O mind your feet, O mind your feet,

Keep dancing like a wave,

And under every dancer

A dead man in his grave.

No ups and down, my Pretty,

A mermaid, not a punk;

A drunkard is a dead man,

And all dead men are drunk.



The jester walked in the garden:

The garden had fallen still;

He bade his soul to rise upward

And stand on her window-sill.


It rose in a straight blue garment,

When owls began to call:

It had grown wise-tongued by thinking

Of a quiet and light footfall;


But the young queen would not listen;

She rose in her pale night-gown;

She drew in the heavy casement

And pushed the latches down.


He bade his heart to go to her,

When owls called out no more;

In a red and shimmering garment

It sang to her through the door.


It had grown sweet-tongued by dreaming

Of a flutter of flower-like hair;

But she took up her fan from the table

And waved it off on the air.


'I have cap and bells,' he pondered,

'I will send them to her and die';

And when the morning whitened

He left them where she went by.


She laid them upon her bosom,

Under a cloud of her hair,

And her red lips sang them a love-song

Till stars grew out of the air.


She opened her door and her window,

And the heart and the soul came through,

To her right hand came the red one,

To her left hand came the blue.


They set up a noise like crickets,

A chattering wise and sweet,

And her hair was a folded flower

And the quiet of love in her feet.




The Roaring Tinker if you like,

But Mannion is my name,

And I beat up the common sort

And think it is no shame.

The common breeds the common,

A lout begets a lout,

So when I take on half a score

I knock their heads about.

From mountain to mountain ride the fierce horsemen.


All Mannions come from Manannan,

Though rich on every shore

He never lay behind four walls

He had such character,

Nor ever made an iron red

Nor soldered pot or pan;

His roaring and his ranting

Best please a wandering man.

From mountain to mountain ride the fierce horsemen.


Could Crazy Jane put off old age

And ranting time renew,

Could that old god rise up again

We'd drink a can or two,

And out and lay our leadership

On country and on town,

Throw lively couples into bed

And knock the others down.

From mountain to mountain ride the fierce horsemen.



Beloved, gaze in thine own heart,

The holy tree is growing there;

From joy the holy branches start,

And all the trembling flowers they bear.

The changing colours of its fruit

Have dowered the stars with merry light;

The surety of its hidden root

Has planted quiet in the night;

The shaking of its leafy head

Has given the waves their melody,

And made my lips and music wed,

Murmuring a wizard song for thee.

There the Loves a circle go,

The flaming circle of our days,

Gyring, spiring to and fro

In those great ignorant leafy ways;

Remembering all that shaken hair

And how the winged sandals dart,

Thine eyes grow full of tender care:

Beloved, gaze in thine own heart.


Gaze no more in the bitter glass

The demons, with their subtle guile,

Lift up before us when they pass,

Or only gaze a little while;

For there a fatal image grows

That the stormy night receives,

Roots half hidden under snows,

Broken boughs and blackened leaves.

For all things turn to barrenness

In the dim glass the demons hold,

The glass of outer weariness,

Made when God slept in times of old.

There, through the broken branches, go

The ravens of unresting thought;

Flying, crying, to and fro,

Cruel claw and hungry throat,

Or else they stand and sniff the wind,

And shake their ragged wings; alas!

Thy tender eyes grow all unkind:

Gaze no more in the bitter glass.





Although I shelter from the rain

Under a broken tree,

My chair was nearest to the fire

In every company

That talked of love or politics,

Ere Time transfigured me.


Though lads are making pikes again

For some conspiracy,

And crazy rascals rage their fill

At human tyranny;

My contemplations are of Time

That has transfigured me.


There's not a woman turns her face

Upon a broken tree,

And yet the beauties that I loved

Are in my memory;

I spit into the face of Time

That has transfigured me.




by Wallace Stevens




A lady dying of diabetes

Listened to the radio,

Catching the lesser dithyrambs,

So heaven collects its bleating lambs.


Her useless bracelets fondly fluttered,

Paddling the melodic swirls,

The idea of god no longer sputtered

At the roots of her indifferent curls.


The idea of the Alps grew large,

Not yet, however, a thing to die in.

It seemed serener just to die,

To float off in the floweriest barge.


Accompanied by the exegesis

Of familiar things in a cheerful voice,

Like the night before Christmas and all the carols.

Dying lady, rejoice, rejoice!




The poet striding among the cigar stores,

RyanÕs lunch, hatters, insurance and medicines,

Denies that abstraction is a vice except

To the fatuous. These are his infernal walls,

A space of stone, of inexplicable base

And peeks outsoaring possible adjectives.

One man, the idea of man, that is the space,

The true abstract in which he promenades.

The era of the idea of man, the cloak

And speech of Virgil dropped, thatÕs where he walks,

ThatÕs where his hymns come crowding, hero-hymns,

Chorals for mountain voices and the moral chant,

Happy rather than holy but happy-high,

Day hymns instead of constellated rhymes.

Hymns of the struggle of the idea of god

And the idea of man, the mystic garden and

The middling beast, the garden of paradise

And he that created the garden and peopled it.




He sought an earthly leader who could stand

Without panache, without cockade,

Son only of man and sun of men,

The outer captain, the inner saint,


The pine, the pillar and the priest,

The voice, the book, the hidden well,

The fasterÕs feast and heavy fruited star,

The father, the beater of the rigid drums.


He that at midnight clutches the guitar,

The solitude, the barrier, the Pole

In Paris, celui qui chant et pleure,

Winter devising summer in its breast,


Summer assaulted, thundering, illumed,

Shelter yet thrower of the summer spear,

With all his attributes, no god but man

Of men whose heaven is in themselves,


Or else whose hell, foamed with their blood

And the long echo of their dying cry,

A fate intoned, a death before they die,

The race that sings and weeps and knows not why.




Behold the moralist hidalgo

Whose whore is Morning Star

Dressed in metal, silk and stone,

Syringa, cicada, his flea.


In how severe a book he read,

Until his nose drew thin and taut

And knowledge dropped upon his heart

Its pitting poison half the night.

He liked the nobler works of man,

The gold fa¨ades round early squares,

The bronzes liquid through gay light.

He laughed to himself at such a plan.


He sat among beggars wet with dew,

Heard the dogs howl at barren bone,

Sat alone, his great toe like a horn,

The central flaw in the solar morn.



by Denman Maroney


I'm yours when I'm yours.

You're mine when you're mine.

I'm yours when you're mine.

You're mine when I'm yours.


I'm not here all the time.

You're not there all the time.

I'm not there when you're yours.

You're not here when I'm mine.


Who's there, then, when you're yours?

Are you yours when you're yours?

Are you hers, then, not mine?

I'll be his, then, that's fine.


Are you here when you're there?

Are you there when you're here?

Were you there over there

When you heard I was here?


I'm his when you're hers.

I'm yours when you're mine.

Oh what's mine? Whose am I?

Might you one day be mine?











Theo Bleckmann (voice)

Denman Maroney (hyperpiano)



Iota Jot Yod:

Shelley Hirsch (voice)

Herb Robertson (trumpet, cornet)

Denman Maroney (hyperpiano)

Arthur Kell (bass)

David Simons (percussion)

Special guest Sheila Schonbrun (voice)

The band Iota Jot Yod performed from 1980-84 and reunited in 2009

to record these two pieces.


Recorded, edited, and mixed by Michael Brorby and John Guth

Mastered by John Guth

Produced by Denman Maroney and Shelley Hirsch

Cover: ŅAncient LightÓ by E. Sky

Graphic Design by Lyra Silverstein

Photography by Mark Dresser

Music for Words, Perhaps

Copyright ©1999 by Denman Maroney (Mon$ey Music (ASCAP))

The words are set to music by permission of AP Watt Ltd on behalf of

Michael B Yeats and Anne Yeats.


A Thought Revolved

Copyright ©1982 by Denman Maroney (Mon$ey Music (ASCAP))

The words are set to music by permission of Peter R. Hanchak,

literary executor for Wallace Stevens.


IÕm Yours

Copyright ©1979 by Denman Maroney (Mon$ey Music (ASCAP))


Innova Director: Philip Blackburn

Operations Manager: Chris Campbell

Innova is supported by an endowment from the McKnight Foundation.