Vaughan Williams, Ralph: Silence and Music

Silence and Music (1953)

Silence, come first. I see a sleeping swan,
Wings closed and drifting where the water leads,
A winter moon, a grove where shadows dream,
A hand out-stretched to gather hollow reeds.
The four winds in their litanies can tell
All of earth’s stories as they weep and cry,
The sea names all the treasure of her tides,
The birds rejoice between the earth and sky.
Voices of grief and from the heart of joy;
So near to comprehension do we stand
That wind and sea and all of winged delight
Lie in the octaves of man’s voice and hand
And music wakes from silence, where it slept.

Words: Ursula Vaughan Williams (1911–2007)
Music: Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872–1958)