Philip Silvey - composer
Emily's Creed - SATB - Philip Silvey

If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.

– Emily Dickinson

The distinctive voice of American poet Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) is characterized by her use of everyday images to illuminate the profound. Although she lived at home in virtual isolation for many years, her poetry explores a vast world opened to her primarily through the books she read. Her poems, mostly untitled and numbering close to 1800, address themes such as loneliness, affection, and loss, often colored by an overriding sense of longing. Her writings also include moments of quiet optimism, such as the sentiments found in this deeply personal reflection on the prospect of a well-spent life. By repeating the phrase “I shall not live in vain,” this musical setting affirms that statement.


Copyright © 2018 Philip E. Silvey