The Answer


Digital Score

Instrumentation: SSAA, piano

Duration: 5:30

Date of Completion: Spring 2020

SKU: MH0031 Category:
About the work

Setting Sara Teasdale’s empowering text, “The Answer” states that the deepest sorrow opens us to the greatest joy.

Commissioned by Julia Chapman for Les Belles Voix, Fountain Valley High School.


When I go back to earth
And all my joyous body
Puts off the red and white
That once had been so proud,
If men should pass above
With false and feeble pity,
My dust will find a voice
To answer them aloud:

“Be still, I am content,
Take back your poor compassion—
Joy was a flame in me
Too steady to destroy.
Lithe as a bending reed
Loving the storm that sways her—
I found more joy in sorrow
Than you could find in joy.”

Text by Sara Teasdale (1884-1933).