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Poetry and Music: A Story that Could Be True


spoken word poetry cello

What if you paired poetry and music? (Yes, you say, a song already is poetry.) I mean paired a poem with music. Not in the sense that the poem becomes the lyrics. More in the way that a cello, which sounds like a human voice to me on some level, creates space for a poem to reside, to open up, to live.

Daniel Sperry plays such a cello, and reads such a poem. Along with a few other instruments, here is the poetry of William Stafford.


A Story That Could Be True

If you were exchanged in the cradle and
your real mother died
without ever telling you the story
then no one knows your name,
and somewhere in the world
your father is lost and needs you
but you are far away.

He can never find
how true you are, how ready.
When the great wind comes
and the robberies of the rain
you stand on the corner shivering.
The people who go by –
you wonder at their calm.

They miss the whisper that runs
any day in your mind,
“Who are you really, wanderer?”
and the answer you have to give
no matter how dark and cold
the world around you is:
“Maybe I’m a king.”

–William Stafford

See more spoken word poetry and music from Daniel Sperry


Photo by nosha, Creative Commons license via Flickr. Performance by Daniel Sperry.

Your Comments

3 Comments so far

  1. Mark says:

    I feel you. Here’s another perspective.
    Poetry and music in nature.

    The Rain’s Symphony

    When I feel the rain upon my face
    I feel Your mercy and Your grace
    As the rain falls all around me
    The countless sounds surround me
    The sound of the rain’s symphony
    Lord, it’s Your majesty

    The leaves of the trees become instruments
    As the raindrops play their song
    A melody from Heaven, rains on and on and on
    The softest song ever heard – Rain falling through the trees

    Unlike a song you only hear – God lets this song be seen
    The drops of rain that sound surreal
    A song that Heaven lets me feel

    As the rain falls all around me
    The sound of the rain’s symphony
    Lord, Your melody rains upon me
    The most beautiful love song

    Isaiah 55:10,11
    From my book: “Surrounded by His Love’
    available at

  2. Even if poetry is its own music, there’s no escaping what an exquisite collaboration of music/voice/text brings to a poem.


  1. Tweetspeak Poetry's Top Ten Posts from the Last Month (or so) | - December 12, 2013

    […] 9.  Poetry and Music: A Story that Could Be True […]

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