The Garden


for Joanna Mieleszko, text by H.D. (mez-sop.) (2022) (7’)

Program Note:

Imagist poet H.D.’s text is a quiet and oblique defiance of oppressive forces. The syllables of the poem and the extracted vocal sounds stutter and slide towards the assertion of their own identity. One of the compositional aims of this piece is to create a new expressiveness in the use of an overlooked text.

The Garden was composed for mezzo soprano Joanna Mieleszko in July 2022.




You are clear
O rose, cut in rock,
hard as the descent of hail.

I could scrape the color from the petals
like spilt dye from a rock.

If I could break you I could break a tree.

If I could stir
I could break a tree — I could break you.


O wind, rend open the heat, cut apart the heat,
rend it to tatters.

Fruit cannot drop
through this thick air — fruit cannot fall into heat that presses up and blunts the
points of pears
and rounds the grapes

Cut the heat —
plough through it, turning it on either side of your path.



Performance History:

  • World Premiere, March 2, 2024, SHE Festival of Women in Music at University of Arkansas