What Sings

by Jen Zimberg

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credits

released September 7, 2019

all songs written and performed by jen zimberg.

produced by erin mckeown; engineered and mixed by colleen clark; mastered by mark alan miller, sonelab easthampton, ma; featuring instrumental and vocal parts played and arranged by: séamus maynard, guitar, vocals; meaghan witri, vocals; erin mckeown, piano, electric guitar, bass; eric sherman, trumpet; kris delmhorst, cello. recorded at spencertown academy & la petite maison. cover art by ella lapointe.

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Jen Zimberg Hudson, New York

singer/songwriter, modern folk

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Track Name: Trempealeau
trempealeau

i have a song to sing
of the boy who met the fairy king
it was in the woods of trempealeau
when the river was dark beneath the starry glow

the boy snuck from his bed one night
put on his hat and brought no light
his legs they moved with restless itch
so he climbed and crept in the quiet over the train-track bridge

* look to the woods just go out walking
find the courage when the winds talking
low, talking low

over the bridge into depth of trees
on a bluff in the middle of the mississippi
the boy in the shadows deep
began to hear the voices from dreamless sleep
*
the boy drew an inward breath
he wondered was he an unwelcome guest
the voices chilled him cool and sweet
and he saw the bright white lights of the night faeries
*
blue and gold the fairy king
loud he shone on outstretched wings
he said, “dear boy of trempealeau
thank you for meeting us here in the shadow.”

“we the fairies small and slight
we are no longer seen in the daylight
still you were brave and heard our call
many ignore or don’t hear it at all.”

look to the woods just go out walking
find the courage when the winds talking
low, talking low

go to the woods listen for music
life will unfold whispers of magic
when you go
Track Name: Song Man
song man

the song man died today you know
he left his backing orchestra to go solo
he said when he knew where the good songs came from
he wouldn’t wait to go

ooo

he met the song when he was young
in the park by the tennis courts and he was in love
when suddenly in streamed the choir of the trumpet tongued

never lament casually
it’s beauty and it’s dignity
that our sorrows waltz between
and he could hear them

so he sang

i feel a bit of a charlatan for stepping out on stage
these are the songs you gave me
you just let me affix my signature
at the bottom of the page

he bought a light guitar from spain
cedar soundboard soft and warm willing to sing
still when he climbed to the stage heights
his heart rang

so he sang

i feel a bit of a charlatan for stepping out on stage
these are the songs you gave me
you just let me affix my signature
at the bottom of the page

hallelujah dressed in song
coming through the radio
on another man’s tongue
and that was the day that we
learned to sing along

never lament casually
it’s beauty and it’s dignity
that our sorrows waltz between

i feel a bit of a charlatan for stepping out on stage
these are the songs you gave me
you just let me affix my signature
at the bottom of the page

our song man died today you know
gone to sing the songs above that he learned below
maybe death is not a hard fall
but slipping through the crack in the wall
Track Name: All the Luminous Things
all the luminous things

if you lose your way don’t fret my dear
someday the pathway will reappear
and being lost has its advantages clear
when you finally see all the luminous things

hey hey look there are so many things to greet you
the grasses by the river have been dying to meet you
and the water’s edge holds the breezes cool
they will kiss your face unendingly

venture out after the red sundown
the darkness in your mind does cut you down
yet see there is a brightening around
of mist in the moonlight


i too have felt the way that you do feel
empty and with doubt biting at the heel
and i’ve had to search for what would reveal
all the luminous things
Track Name: What Sings
what sings

what silence says the stones reply
what silence says the stones reply

what silence says the stones reply
with subtle tongue
a lowly hum
that tickles slowly up the spine


what sunlight sings the birds take air
what sunlight sings the birds take air

what sunlight sings the birds take air
and dance the song
the hours long
until their wings brush through hair


what grasses dance soft beast exclaims
what grasses dance soft beast exclaims

what grasses dance soft beast exclaims
with subtle purr
and growl through fur
that human voice in throat does lame


what sings in me
what sings in me

what sings in me this morning song
oh jubilant dance
oh sweet advance
of world that i had left too long


what sings in me
what sings in me

what sings in me symphonic lights
of stars to shine
their lights behind
and guiding always us along

what sings in me symphonic lights
of stars to shine
their lights behind
and guiding always us along
Track Name: The Little Prince and the Fox (ft. Meaghan Witri)
the little prince and the fox

fox:

sun has come
the sun has come to shine
i know your name
and now you know mine

i saw you descending from the stars
you asked to befriend me
i said you don’t know
where you are

little prince:

oh, dear fox
the orange-red of a sunset
will now make me think of
your orange-red fur

oh, dear fox
don’t you find it a mystery
that up in the stars there
a rose waits for me?

all this comes that you taught me to tame
now that i’ve tamed you
to me you are unique
among thousands of foxes

fox:

look at all
all these thousands of flowers
yet only one
has received your hours

now you know the secret place of joy
without taking time
one doesn’t find out
what is most important

little prince:

yes my friend
you have helped me to find
that what is essential
goes unseen by the eye

yes my friend
and now it’s time that i go
and i will not forget
what you have shown me

little prince & fox:

eyes they only see the outer shell
eyes they only see the outer shell

little prince:

now that i’ve tamed you
i can see beyond
your nose ears and tail
Track Name: Dark Dark Dirt
dark dark dirt

(Charles IV Dauphin after meeting Joan of Arc:)

i had a song to sing
it grew inside like a seed, flinging
the dark dark dirt
from my mind

i had a song to sing
but the more i stay silent, the more it flees
into the dark dark dirt
of my mind

but she comes to me
and suddenly i can hear
the lines i am to speak
the part i am to play
on this holy stage

still if i stand so tall
really i will be nothing at all
and the silks and the colors and the passions
don’t want to go
they want the room in my heart to be furnished
and comfortable

and how could i be a king
over such a great and larger thing
as this whole warring land?
when my own inner lands
will not obey my command.

she asks me to lead
she tells me the angels need
hearts of golden courage for their plans
you’d think that’d feel more royal to this man
but really it’s a lonesome place
to stand
Track Name: If I am to Die
if i am to die

(Joan of Arc, in prison:)

if i am to die
i may tell you
i once lied

truth it has my heart
yet i had to
give it up

to see the truth die and lay on my breath
to send my very best to its death

i said i’d go alone
go through the fields
to help in my uncle’s home

but when i’d arrived there
i begged laxert
please take me to valcouleurs

for to ask for men at arms
for the lord had laid a great task in my heart
of saving our land from her ruin and harm

yes i’d been sent forth so
and what they said to me
michaël knows

and i will not lie again
though it save my
living skin

and now i am with peace
for the task is complete
Track Name: Michelangelo
michelangelo

(after Rilke’s short story, “The Man Who Listened to Stones”)

with dusted hands upon the rock
the master waits and listens
what work will call to him from out
the marmoreal abyss

the sculptor’s hands awaken then
and strengthen moving restlessly
he pulls upon the rock as if
a voice within were fading

*michelangelo,
who is in the stone?
michelangelo,
who is in the stone?
who is in the stone?

you oh lord
who else who else?
but i can’t get at you

and as a bird on winged heights
finds easily her landed flock
the sculptor knows there must be three
three figures in this small block

first he frees the shoulders broad
and the body in the woman’s arms
though he dare not lift her marble veil
lest her grief should fall and lame him
*
next with looming obscure plans
he climbs the quarry high
the faded rock a chiseled brow
the face of one who’s waiting

tall the master grows above the hill
and the olive trees
“you shall be my work,” he says
to the mountain and the evening

michelangelo,
michelangelo?

then homeward he began his way
til at the village gates he paused
the narrow streets stuck out their arms
and pulled him homeward shrinking

pressed in by the house as if
some mystery would shape him
and to this force he did submit
humbled by his limits

michelangelo,
who is in you?
michelangelo,
who is in you?
who is in you?

michelangelo,
who is in you?
michelangelo,
who is in you?
who is in you?

you oh lord
who else who else who else?
who else.
Track Name: Leave Room
leave room

i have lived a life of many steps
and i can see my life reflected in my steps
and there are times i am uncertain of their course
and there are times where they determine their own course

for i hear them singing

i am not thine to keep
i am not thine to keep
i am the one i am the one
who flies through you
i am the one i am the one i am the one
who flies through you
when you leave me room

i have lived a life in thought
and i can see my life reflected in my thoughts
and there are times i am unknowing of their source
and there are times i am certain i’m not their source

for i hear them singing

i am not thine to keep
i am not thine to keep
i am the one i am the one
who flies through you
i am the one i am the one i am the one
who flies through you
when you leave me room

i have seen that my heart will be weighed
and so i tend its garden every day
and this labor in the sun it makes me strong
for this laboring of love has its own song

and i hear it singing

i am not thine to keep
i am not thine to keep
i am the one i am the one
who flies through you
i am the one i am the one i am the one
who flies through you
when you leave me room

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