A Prayer in Spring (grade 4)
A Prayer in Spring was commissioned by Thomas Quigley, Michael Adams, Sandra Clark, Laura Prior, and the Pinkerton Academy (Derry, NH) Music Department in celebration of the 200th Anniversary of Pinkerton Academy. The school is only a short distance from where I teach at the University of New Hampshire and I have come to know the faculty well over the years, especially my friend, Mike Adams, who conducts the wind ensemble. The opportunity to compose something for this fantastic department was a real honor, and it was especially exciting to set the words of the legendary poet, Robert Frost, whose home from 1900-1911 was just down the road, only minutes from the Academy.
Mike suggested that we use an early Frost poem, A Prayer in Spring, which humbly asks us to stop and appreciate the natural beauty that surrounds us. Mike felt that this particular poem might be pertinent for high school students facing constant pressure about preparing for their futures, instead encouraging them to pause for a moment's breath and to acknowledge all that is good and beautiful in life.
Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers to-day;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.
Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
And make us happy in the happy bees,
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.
And make us happy in the darting bird
That suddenly above the bees is heard,
The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill,
And off a blossom in mid air stands still.
For this is love and nothing else is love,
The which it is reserved for God above
To sanctify to what far ends He will,
But which it only needs that we fulfil.