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The Maidens  (1993)


available from the composer

duration ca. 5:00



for solo female voice

by Fabian Worsham


He who desires but acts not, breeds pestilence.

In the drawer where white, pearl-buttoned
gloves were kept for Sunday, ours
were easy to find, the fingers
long and delicate, palms prim and folded.
Our lace anklets never ravelled.

We are haloed women,
gilded isolates with scepters and scrolls,
whose robes belie the drift of wind.

With age our fingers crack
beneath a torch whose light has soured,
and we look to the broken chain
at the feet of Liberty.

Perhaps like us 
she has dreamed of a night
of neon, sequins
and saxophones

when she will toss away her torch, crown, and scroll,
shake her hair wild, and swaying in the midnight music,
lift her robes one by one above her head 
and fling them into the harbor.

Perhaps like us
she has dreamed of the night 
she will sit, naked, 
exhausted from her dance
and dangle her bare feet 
from the pedestal.


The Maidens was premiered by Phyllis Pancella, mezzo soprano on April 21, 1995 at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.  The poem is used by permission of the author.

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