Music is everything…

Here’s 7 poems about music from our Nordoff Robbins music therapists

1. Music by Walter De La Mare

When music sounds, gone is the earth I know,
And all her lovely things even lovelier grow;
Her flowers in vision flame, her forest trees
Lift burdened branches, stilled with ecstasies.

When music sounds, out of the water rise
Naiads whose beauty dims my waking eyes,
Rapt in strange dreams burns each enchanted face,
With solemn echoing stirs their dwelling-place.

When music sounds, all that I was I am
Ere to this haunt of brooding dust I came;
And from Time’s woods break into distant song
The swift-winged hours, as I hasten along.

2. On Music by Thomas Moore

When through life unblest we rove,
Losing all that made life dear,
Should some notes we used to love,
In days of boyhood, meet our ear,
Oh! how welcome breathes the strain!
Wakening thoughts that long have slept,
Kindling former smiles again
In faded eyes that long have wept.

Like the gale, that sighs along
Beds of oriental flowers,
Is the grateful breath of song,
That once was heard in happier hours.
Fill’d with balm the gale sighs on,
Though the flowers have sunk in death;
So, when pleasure’s dream is gone,
Its memory lives in Music’s breath.

Music, oh, how faint, how weak,
Language fades before thy spell!
Why should Feeling ever speak,
When thou canst breathe her soul so well?
Friendship’s balmy words may feign,
Love’s are even more false than they;
Oh! ’tis only music’s strain
Can sweetly soothe, and not betray.

3. The Strange Music by G. K. Chesterton

Other loves may sink and settle, other loves may loose and slack,
But I wander like a minstrel with a harp upon his back,
Though the harp be on my bosom, though I finger and I fret,
Still, my hope is all before me: for I cannot play it yet.

In your strings is hid a music that no hand hath e’er let fall,
In your soul is sealed a pleasure that you have not known at all;
Pleasure subtle as your spirit, strange and slender as your frame,
Fiercer than the pain that folds you, softer than your sorrow’s name.

Not as mine, my soul’s annointed, not as mine the rude and light
Easy mirth of many faces, swaggering pride of song and fight;
Something stranger, something sweeter, something waiting you afar,
Secret as your stricken senses, magic as your sorrows are.

But on this, God’s harp supernal, stretched but to be stricken once,
Hoary time is a beginner, Life a bungler, Death a dunce.
But I will not fear to match them-no, by God, I will not fear,
I will learn you, I will play you and the stars stand still to hear.

4. Music by A. S. J. Tessimond

This shape without space,
This pattern without stuff,
This stream without dimension
Surrounds us, flows through us,
But leaves no mark.

This message without meaning,
These tears without eyes
This laughter without lips
Speaks to us but does not
Disclose its clue.

These waves without sea
Surge over us, smooth us.
These hands without fingers
Close-hold us, caress us.
These wings without birds
Strong-lift us, would carry us
If only the one thread broke.

5. To Music: A Song by Robert Herrick

Music, thou queen of heaven, care-charming spell,
That strik’st a stillness into hell;
Thou that tam’st tigers, and fierce storms, that rise,
With thy soul-melting lullabies;
Fall down, down, down, from those thy chiming spheres
To charm our souls, as thou enchant’st our ears.

6. To Music by Rainer Maria Rilke

Music: breathing of statues. Perhaps:
silence of paintings. You language where all language
ends. You time
standing vertically on the motion of mortal hearts.

Feelings for whom? O you the transformation
of feelings into what?–: into audible landscape.
You stranger: music. You heart-space
grown out of us. The deepest space in us,
which, rising above us, forces its way out,–
holy departure:
when the innermost point in us stands
outside, as the most practiced distance, as the other
side of the air:
pure,
boundless,
no longer habitable.

7. That Music Always Round My by Walt Whitman

THAT music always round me, unceasing, unbeginning—yet long untaught I did not hear;
But now the chorus I hear, and am elated;
A tenor, strong, ascending, with power and health, with glad notes of day-break I hear,
A soprano, at intervals, sailing buoyantly over the tops of immense waves,
A transparent bass, shuddering lusciously under and through the universe,
The triumphant tutti—the funeral wailings, with sweet flutes and violins—all
these I
fill myself with;
I hear not the volumes of sound merely—I am moved by the exquisite meanings,
I listen to the different voices winding in and out, striving, contending with fiery
vehemence
to excel each other in emotion;
I do not think the performers know themselves—but now I think I begin to know them.

Do you know a great poem about music? Tweet @NordoffRobbins1 using #NationalPoetryDay with your suggestion and we’ll add it to our list!