Monday, June 9, 2008

The Poet Speaks
Dedicated to Judy Stockett

Schumann's Opus 15 is one of his popular and well-known works. It consists of 13 short pieces composed about various "scenes of childhood" (thus the title - Kinderszenen - Scenes of Childhood). This particular "scene" is the final scene in the work and is titled "Der Dichter spricht" or "The Poet Speaks." As many of my friends and family know, I love poetry. I am not a poet, but am an appreciator of this fine literary art. In fact, I read poetry to my children almost every night before I read them their bedtime stories and put them to bed. Good poetry inspires the soul - as does good music. For this reason, I particularly love this work because it is a musical interpretation of a poet speaking.

This recording is dedicated to a wonderful woman, Judy Stockett and her dear husband, Jerry Stockett. I have known this couple only a few years but have grown a deep admiration for the both of them. We are both members of the same faith and so we attend church meetings together regularly. Over these last couple of years Judy and Jerry have been an inspiration to me during times of trial and difficulty. They are the epitome of optimism and joy. I have especially enjoyed having several opportunities to hear Judy speak of her personal experiences and am uplifted by her natural love for life, hope, and the "brighter side" of everything.

Judy, along with this recording, there is a poem that makes me think of you. This fits in perfectly with this musical work by Schumann, and is a great representation of how my family feels towards the great person you are:

Worth While
by Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1855 - 1919)

It is easy enough to be pleasant, When life flows by like a song,
but the man worth while is one who will smile, When everything goes dead wrong.
For the test of the heart is trouble, And it always comes with the years,
And the smile that is worth the praises of earth Is the smile that shines through tears.
It is easy enough to be prudent, When nothing tempts you to stray,
When without or within no voice of sin Is luring your soul away;
But it's only a negative virtue Until it is tried by fire,
And the life that is worth the honor on earth Is the one that resists desire.
By the cynic, the safe, the fallen, Who had no strength for the strife,
The world's highway is cumbered to-day; They make up the sum of life.
But the virtue that conquers passion, And the sorrow that hides in a smile,
It is these that are worth the homage on earth For we find them but once in a while.

Judy, you are an inspiration to us all.
This recording may be downloaded here or through my iTunes podcast. You may also use the embedded player below to listen to this recording.