White Ash

White Ash is inspired by a longer-term study of the bassoon with Darrel Hale, my colleague and friend. This is the third piece I have composed for Megan Ihnen, and the first for Darrel.

White Ash is inspired by motherhood, register and poetry. It is part of a song cycle for Megan Ihnen to follow up on my piece One Voice (2016) for a series of pieces for mezzo and instrumentalist(s). This song premieres April 1, 2019.  It’s sister piece is The Clockmaker’s Doll.

The Mothers by Rebecca Morgan Frank
It is supposed to come naturally.
The way you love a boy whose father held
a gun in his own mouth, as his mother
shouted, grab it and run! And the gun cracked
against the creek rocks, then washed away.
If I had a baby, I would hold it close, erase
the cuts that severed us. I would spoon
it stories and know my love was guzzled
whole, to be spit into the future like a tin can
hurdled across the lot. Something to be
excavated, examined. Every blizzard buries
something we’ve left, or worse: what we never
had. The white ash of love is no different.                                                                                                                                                                                         

Listen, I say, and the baby nods. Sleep,
and I’ll tell you another one.


  • White Ash (played by the incredible Megan Ihnen and Darrel Hale as a part of the song cycle Galatea’s Dream) is a haunting meditation on motherhood based on the poem (by Rebecca Morgan Frank).” 50 IDRS, celebrating 50 years, volume 44
  • Fanfare review.