• The Editor

An Original Musical Setting of "Poems Unwritten"


Writing Boy With Little Sister II (1875) by Albert Anker (1831-1910)

Sometimes, when the light and the mists of the day

Settle holy and soft on the edge of the night,

When the sights and the sounds of the world melt away,

And the vision that lives in the soul takes flight,

That feeling comes on I felt since I was young,

Of poems unwritten and songs unsung.

Like a shadow that flits across the moonbeams

Thrills the soul all the more for its dark mystery,

Or the memory in daytime of last night’s dreams,

Like another world under the surface we see,

Like that thought that lives on the tip of the tongue,

Are those poems unwritten and songs unsung.

In the gaze of the lover who grasps for a word

To embody the feeling that’s shared in the eyes,

Or forgotten strains of a song long unheard

Whose sad memory deep in the heart still lies,

Like all the new thoughts that ever have sprung,

Are those poems unwritten and songs unsung.

It’s there in the child as he sees the sublime

In the greatness and beauty of life unfurled,

It lives in the instant, but outside of time,

And comforts the dying as they leave this world;

It sleeps in all souls though the lyre be unstrung,

Those poems unwritten and songs unsung.


Poem by Daniel Leach

Original song setting by Fred Haight


To learn more about the relationship between poetry and lieder, rightly called the "Rosetta Stone" of poetry, we recommend the following resources:

- Brahms' Settings of Poetry from the Davidsbuendler website

- Brahms' advice for composers Part 1 by music scholar Fred Haight