A requested topic – how music can be healing. We explore three texts, poetry and prose, in this workshop and also listen to requests for music that participants have found healing.


The Texts

Elizabeth Bishop, ‘I am in Need of Music’


Walt Whitman, ‘That Music All Around Me’


Vikram Seth, An Equal Musicthe final chapter 8.35, which begins,

‘I am in the front row of the balcony. A murmer fills the hall. I look down on the heads of the crowd below.’

It goes on to describe a female pianist and her beautiful playing:

‘She plays without the music, her eyes sometimes on her hands, sometimes closed. What she hears, what she imagines, I do not know.’

This experience prompts the narrator to be deeply moved and to reflect:

‘I push through the crowded lobby into the rain. I walk a long while, through the streets, the darkness of the park. Once more I stand by the Serpentine. The rain has washed my earlier tears away.

Music, such music, is a sufficient gift. Why ask for happiness; why hope not to grieve? It is enough, it is to be blessed enough, to live from day to day and to hear such music – not too much, or the soul could not sustain it – from time to time.’