Twenty Questions

Twenty Questions (2010)

SA, piano
Commissioned for Healing and Hope Through Song, a program of the American
Composers Forum, with partial funding provided by Saint Paul Cultural STAR.
Premiered by the Minnesota Boychoir, Mark Johnson, Artistic Director.

Secular

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Text:

When you’re in a hospital bed
There’s not much to do
So you study the numbers,
follows the tubes,
ask yourself questions, like

Do elephants have belly buttons?
Do pandas like peanuts?
Do you think I’ll lose my smile,
when I’m a grown up?

The nurses keep going
home every day.
Just stay for one,
then a new one comes.

Twenty questions, it’s just a game
It says it can read my mind
But it doesn’t even know
what I’m talking about.

Don’t want to think about
all the things I’m missing,
all the time I’m spending here.
Don’t want to think, so instead

How many flavors of ice cream
Are there in the world?
What would a red whale look like,
in a red sea?

When you’re in a hospital bed
There’s not much to do
So you memorize your arm band,
the tune the I.V. sings.

Daddy ate a birthday candle
Just for fun.
Mom tells me she’s seen me
do the bravest things.

You ask me if it’s hard
to be here in this bed. I tell you
life is hard, no matter
where you’re living it.

I do know this
No game can prove me wrong
There is so much happy
and sad, so all of a sudden
& there isn’t anything
we wouldn’t do
for each other.

- Julia Klatt Singer