Barter, or life has loveliness to sell…

Marionettes gift to the nation II
The Marionettes’ curtain call at A GIFT TO THE NATION II (July 2012)

One of my ongoing projects is digitising the Marionettes‘ almost 50-year historical archive. It’s a project I seldom have adequate time for, but the Universe has cleared the way and I’ve been going through some decades’ old footage.

Much of it brings bittersweet memories. So many songs, events and performances brought me so much joy growing up, with this my extended family. The sadness comes from seeing so many faces of those extended family members who’ve since passed on. But how we all enjoyed each other with the time we had. And I will be ever-grateful for their paths having crossed mine.

One gem I rediscovered today was a staple in the Marionettes’ repertoire in the early 90s: the musical setting of Sara Teasdale‘s poem Barter, sung and also known as Life has loveliness to sell. She captured such beauty and hope in the poem that the irony is even crueller of her eventually taking her own life.

So I am reminded: spend all you have on loveliness. Never count the cost.

Life has loveliness to sell,
All beautiful and splendid things,
Blue waves whitened on a cliff,
Soaring fire that sways and sings,
And children’s faces looking up
Holding wonder like a cup.

Life has loveliness to sell,
Music like a curve of gold,
Scent of pine trees in the rain,
Eyes that love you, arms that hold,
And for your spirit’s still delight,
Holy thoughts that star the night.

Spend all you have for loveliness,
Buy it and never count the cost;
For one white singing hour of peace
Count many a year of strife well lost,
And for a breath of ecstasy
Give all you have been, or could be.

– Sara Teasdale

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