Elegy for Miss Covington

  • Composer: Jeffrey Ryan 
  • Publisher: manuscript
  • Canadian Work: Yes


This lists any discs, concerts or collections where this piece is included.




text: Barbara Goldowsky from Ferry to Nirvana and New Poems

Miss Covington had read the dreadful news about the gas.
The Comet’s tail contained – a scientific
fact – cyanogen. Identified by almond
scent, a particle upon the tongue,
could kill, the papers said.

Miss Covington could see future bleak
as outer space; closed door
and window, then turned on
the gas – illuminating –
and took her first breath of eternity.
A neighbor called police.
Miss Covington was saved.

The New York Times does not record
her further life, or death.
Had she a brother in the War
who came back maimed by mustard gas?
A favorite niece in Europe,
deported to a Camp?

Likely she just lived on, to die
of peaceful age, using
her gas range for the family meal,
a wholesome loaf of bread.

Miss Covington, stay well!
Your molecules waft by mixed into comet dust,
trailing the faint, familiar smell
of home-baked almond cookies.