We asked listeners to write poems inspired by Ludwig van Beethoven's Symphony No. 6: II. Scene by the Brook. Here’s what they told us.
i look up, i look down
at the small little fair at the edge of my town
for at the center of all the fun
something catches my eye, and i start to run
i run to the Ferris wheel that goes up so high
i want to go on it so badly i could die
so i reach into my pocket and pull out a penny
but to get on the wheel it would take so many
so i sit on the ground and imagine the feeling
the feeling of floating is so appealing
i close my eyes and think of a plan
and just like that my plan has began
i stand up and walk to the gate
i try to look taller and not out of place
i reach my hand out and push it open
a man turns around at the sight of my motion
he looks down at me
and says very sternly
its this way to the Ferris wheel little child
my eyes go wide, and he just smiled
— Sophie Milstein, Shorewood
shoots of flowers amid
springing up on trees
there is hope left
amid the cold
— Jay Coleman, Madison
Glittering flittering sunshine
Stopping for a breath
Only to rise again
Amidst the fields of green
— Linda Alford, Austin
I much prefer the ocean,
but at times, a river will do just fine.
The river is where the coot and loon confer,
while the cuckoo finds a nest to steal
near the subtler flint swells.
To stand on its bank and say I am,
resolute as a salmon swimming upstream,
is to know that you are small,
yet willing to float onward,
a migration of one drop of our multitude.
Where does this water go?
It ripples in broken thirds
under sturdy bridges and sylvan spheres
before retreating in service
into the cave of the heart.
— Valerie Little, Minneapolis
Crossing the Ocean
Crossing the ocean
The vast waters
Under a black sky
That's covering the world.
Crossing now, crossing
To the other shore
Where the Spring sun is shining
Where roses are red perfumes
Where the air
Is at peace.
The ocean of reality
Is a trickle of water
If we're willing
The other shore is just one step away.
Crystalline water is this
No one can deny it
It just takes one step
To cross this ocean
When we want to get back to ourselves
When we want to begin again.
— Mario Zetino, Santa Ana, El Salvador
Where are you?
I was looking for you.
I heard something by the brook
but when I looked I twisted my neck.
What a lovely day
but you aren't here.
I hope you are ok.
Wow, look at that sky!
The clouds moving by, so slow
A gray cloud there, a couple drops.
Now bright, so bright, a light warm breeze.
Nature can be so lovely.
I think I can see you in the distance.
Yes, what are you doing?
Kneeling it looks like.
Oh, you are up now
Looking into where the woodpecker had been eating.
You are coming back.
It's just so beautiful I want everything to stop:
I want to live in this moment forever.
— Robert LeClairee, Fridley
Haiku X 3
Brown, speckled brook trout
seen swimming this way, than that
Dark, vertical bars
yellow red adipose fins
prized for your beauty.
Spawning in spring seeps
with the current, and against.
Reflect the future.
— Barbara Klug, Minneapolis
buried and secure
in warm mother earth
why should the seed crack and sprout a fragile stem
yet it does
seduced by sunshine
and the promise of living large
it risks frost and wind
and the crush of feet
like its ancestors have always grown
finding life in peril
than a hole in the ground
— Kristina Bendikas, London
Patches of green grass
Appear with April snowmelt
Mixed by sun and clouds
— Sharon Hulett, Minnetonka
I have left Vienna for the goods.
Promised to the free green grass.
I hear the birds change my path.
Listen to the water take away the day.
I walk for hours down to the end of the way.
Heavy feet have started to lose the weight of the day.
A fresh breeze takes April's name to town.
Never did I touch that stone first thrown.
Nobody to blame as the trees bend low.
Friends with hands shaking the new leaves awake.
Thicker grass starts to strangle my day.
I can still see thru my Coke bottle glasses.
The river is awake today.
Listen close to the rocks being rubbed away.
Young voices trying to explain the bees knees.
Youth was wasted down by the banks.
Blame the color green and all those spring things.
I can still hear the chorus repeat and refrain.
Over the rocks now dull.
Under the bridge still haunted by trolls.
Young German woman selling therapy.
Freud is still hypnotized by the water.
I lie on the velvet red sofa, counting all the new birds.
Yes my little pigeon, the night is coming fast.
A new speed to the water falling with no fear.
I heard a rumor of a man.
He walked on water.
Talked to the trees still glistening.
Skipped rocks across the depths.
I'm stuck staring at the water of me.
Surface tension and a hint of tomorrow.
Listen close to the night with no please.
Just a full moon on the days the water took over.
— Derek Kostka, Rochester
reaching out 3 souls
Touched through time
The web is formed supporting friendship
Growth forms circles of strength
Circles interlock, bonded forever
Roads ungulate, intertwined, pathways cross
Surrender our insecurities, embrace the love of friendship
3 souls touch, circles strengthens, no weak link
Out reach our hands, trust the distance, locked forever
Intertwined through the circle of friendship
— Ann Shadiow, Boise ID
Imagine, this wintry day, by a tranquil brook,
Formed somewhere from melting snow and filtered seep.
It's a patient Spring that quietly awaits,
Taking measured breaths, pining for warmth, sure to come.
A gentle breeze, reeds half tall
Swirls of life beneath reflections of overhanging trees,
Butterflies suspended on bright, reticulated wings,
And songbirds in chorus, up and to the left,
Complete the portrait in my mind.
My soul awakens to the joys that await
When common pleasures will again
Subdue the solitude of sheltering in this place.
Spring will come, it never forgets.
It's warmth and embrace will still comfort us.
But for now, my imagination
Will have to do.
— A J Smith, Wayzata
My little Hami (granddaughter)
Holding hands across the world as
little brown fingers touch a screen;
putting an eternity into view.
I am here
she is there.
I listen with my fingers
as her's tap and poke my soul.
— Richard Graham, Hastings
Who through the tr(y)(I)dents
to bleed out the life of fresh, new
waters. Flowing from the mountain heights
carving little knot(let)s and hides
for life to grow and scenes to flow
The sounds of natures music and
Life. Unsalted by Poseidon's hand
But the gentle hand from Persephone's
Weeping at her bands, or the dirge
turned to a playful scourge, Upon
a dainty brook, such a forgotten dream
which only battered scholars
even seek to sing. Each owing all
to broken dreams, still lived
somehow in joy, as if to call in to being
through the singing along with natures throng
until the brooks clear waters heal what was
gone. but not forgotten, misremembered
simply because two sides of a coin never meet
dancing after each other
on opposite sides not
knowing their wholEness
only living for the afterimage
of the Music of the Spheres
cast me not in to a fountain of lost dreams
but into this brook, the current which
carries this curs rant to his witch
still, unfamiliar, kept spinning
to turn the gears, the brooklet flows
Who through the bolt the set the earth to weep
I do not know. But standing by the brook
I cry along, in my heart alone, My face frozen
tears held back by the Joy in the seeing
of all the other things, seen
when one sits and weeps
— Peter Eschweiler, Golden Valley
A scene by the brook
Oblivious to the storm to come
wandering along a cascading brook
at the edge of a forest
and thicket of brushwood.
Listening to what eyes see
creating an expression of existence
a sweet sonification of life.
Setting a leisurely pace
along swift, light-dappled water
swollen by winter snow run off.
Like the sweet sensation
of musical triplets
the water tumbles
refracting light and
An underlying innerplay of motion
repeating, smoothing stones
provoking a rush of echoes.
Attention alternating between
the understory of the brush
and thrumming water
as nightingales, quails, and cuckoos
engage in light conversation.
crescendos and diminuendos
Another brief birdsong
then a slowing
retreat to reality.
— Timothy Langhorst, Perrysburg
It's not the glacier's imperative,
It's more a question of
ebb, of moving
through, of thought drift
And the glimpse of sky water,
leaf and cloud
So, within this wat'ry progress,
eddy me for an hour or two
Let me spin without purpose in
dapple and reflection
Then loose me,
lose me into
angle, the float
— Katrin Talbot, Madison
By the Stream
— Kristi Larsen, Atlanta
Before the Storm
Far from the clamor in our streets
and the clutter in our lives,
there is a place of quiet rest
where all is well,
near to the heart of God
where peace reigns supreme
and love remains sublime.
As a refugee from anxiety,
I fled to that place of grace often
and found solace in its stunning splendor
beside the bubbling brook.
Then came corona.
The virus broke in
and pandemonium broke out.
There was no escape anymore.
There was no sanctuary anywhere.
Peace was shattered everywhere.
But love remains supreme.
Hope retains its promise.
The eternal triumphs over the temporal.
For the storm shall pass,
and wounded healers shall emerge
to rebuild the sanctuary of grace once more
in accordance with the celestial harmony
of a pastoral symphony.
— Werner Lange, Newton Falls
I stand and stretch my arms above;
This is joy; this is life; this is love!
A gentle valley, green and sown
with gentle grass so short and pure.
I doff my shoes and barefoot run
across the turf that welcomes in
my toes, my sole, my heel, my soul
without a stone or thorn.
Overhead, a perfect sun,
and all around a perfect breeze
that strokes me everywhere and thrills
my body with its power and strength.
I feel that I could run forever
springing quickly like a child;
laughing, jumping, falling down
to roll into the gentle slope
and find a flower above my head
with birdsong in the air.
— Wayne Farmer, Winona
I'll show you a picture of who I really am
Some days I'm a lion, some days I'm a lamb
A hopeless romantic in search of a muse
Someone I can love, and not something to use
A Pre-Raphaelite who paints with his words
And longs to one day speak the language of birds
I look to the future, I live in the past
The present is fleeting, it never does last
I'm everything and everyone I have known
I'm joined to the universe, never alone
I see in your eyes the reflection of God
Some think I'm mystical, some think I'm odd
I think of my life as a musical piece
When I am creative I find my release
If you understand me, you could be the one
Let's get out of this cave and walk into the sun
— Mason Green, Savage
On a cloudy day
I set my sorrows in a newspaper boat
And sent it adrift without a life preserver.
As the wind carried it far into the sea
I watched it bob and sway on the grey water
Until it sank under its own weight.
I was glad to be rid of it.
As I stood at the shore
I filled a bright blue bucket
with the water that holds my sorrow,
and carried it home to nurture the flowers
I planted in the window box
Outside the kitchen window.
— Judy Lazar, Eagan
One voice, then another, rising
The layers pulsing
A voice soaring, above
The phrases echo, this range, that color
Steady rhythms greening
A bud, opening
— Patricia Norton, Minneapolis
Like the seed of dandelions
Taken to the wind.
In the spring,
When Love's Whimsy takes hold,
We'll sit next to the bubbling brook
And listen as the birds
Whistle our cares away.
Fly free-- Our feet in the laughing water,
Our hearts and hands entwined,
The sun on a cloudless day--
Making April forget how to rain.
— Stephanie Gabriel, Madison
Can't your hear?
Can't you hear the running, gurgling water?
rushing down the stream
to the river and off to ocean's shore.
And yet here is calm Serenity;
here is quiet call of Quail
calling us to hear Love more.
In the placid evening, listen, won't you?
hear the voice of Nightingale
Rest my friends; Love, I implore.
And day to day, hope helps us heal
and the Cuckoo bids us sail
along the water's Metaphor.
— Webb, St. Paul
As a child growing up in an area
with very few deciduous trees
I often felt left out when reading about
the autumn rituals of raking leaves
into huge piles, then jumping into them
One fine October day as we walked across
the University campus after band rehearsal
we came upon an ENORMOUS pile of leaves
raked up by the grounds crew before they left for lunch
With reckless, childlike abandon we dropped our
instruments and backpacks in a heap
then proceeded to jump repeatedly into that pile
Rolling, kicking, crunching the glorious golden leaves
until the pile no longer existed
then we collected our things and went to class
Sometimes I wonder what the crew thought when
they returned from lunch to find their work undone
Did they know it was us, or did they blame the wind?
— Ann Maria Mattila, Rock Springs
Listening to 'Scene by the Brook' while walking in the woods
Out back behind my home
There lies a small ravine
Within the snow sits solemnly.
A head full of bothers,
Heart heavy with tomorrows,
There I sit on a downed tree.
Into the snow before me
My boots sink
. In the cold creeps.
I gently close my eyes and let
Limpid waters washing away sorrow
Pale Clouds passing with the breeze
Spring's song seems to stream from the earth
As rejoicing robins dance among leaves.
I raise my head to see
The sun through budding trees
As she shines on the snow before me.
— Dan Kingsbury, Cottage Grove
Scene by the Brook
Come, take a seat by me
And tell me what you see.
The brook begins beyond the hill,
Where nature rests, quiet and still.
The rocky shoreline twists and turns,
Soon, the water begins to churn.
Little waves now sputter and crash,
On our bare feet, water is splashed.
The brook meanders further down,
Its path looks like a crooked frown.
Where water pools the birds can splash,
As we lie down in tall, green grass.
We cast our eyes up to the sky,
And watch a cloud slowly drift by.
— Juliana Schacherer, Litchfield
April breeze in sunshine on lakeside trails
Dancing with Mallards, Chipmunks and Cardinals
Silver birch straightly grasps the sky in his hand
Green and yellow meadow like spring's blanket
Warm my heart
Far away from my homeland
— Zhenbiao He, St. Cloud
in the graveyard giving
the rainbows are running late this year
squirming & leaping their way upstream
already stressed & exhausted
from the late lake thaw
like a hoard of anxious pilgrims
they trample over the weak & dead
on their way
bloated carcasses float in the foam
mouths open wide
waiting for one last
the eagles too
are here to find
their own concord
with the divine
feasting at ghost white tails
& milky eyes
even the butterflies
have come to sip
some sort of necessary nectar
from the fat juices of survival
all the while the tardy
continue to leap
& leap again
rapid after rapid
up & up
as if scaling their way
even though they know
they are very very late
& may never arrive
that perhaps their heaven
will also be that
in the graveyard
— Audrey Colasanti, Minneapolis
the brook flows, down at the
pull of gravity, down
over rock, into pools,
moving from source to destiny.
the music flows, forward to
the pull of rhythm, to
melody, into themes
moving from source to destiny.
my life flows, forward to
the call of purpose, down
to challenge, into trust,
moving from source to destiny.
— Wayne Albertson, Richfield
But when I look again
It's not a drop of dew
It's the eye of a bird
Its home my eye
my iris its door
The feathers tickle as they flit through
It brings a different future squirming in its laughing talons
Where bird songs have veto over concrete
Where the brook never brooks being made feverish foul
Where the dew cleanses the bees
Their sting inspiration their honey food for all
No hunger no hoarding a staple shared not sold
— Kel Heyl, St. Paul
To: My Granddaughter
Walking trails in favorite woods.
River flowing near..what is that swimming visible to me from above?
Here are more, following the first.
Upstream I follow 'til each is dancing
Round the next turn, now to pause,
Then dancing again!
I wade in too, needing to follow them where they head.
Up above sweet birds sing, flitting here and there, branch to branch.
Sun glinting through leaves.
Now I see it all as one flow, merging swimming-flying!
I fly too: above and below. Dancing with the rhythms of all that is.
Arms open wide to the world that is.
Grateful for this weaving of life forms.
Wanting to be joined, all as one.
— Kay Harris, Minnetonka
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