Ode to Joy

My son taught himself to play “Ode to Joy” on the piano years ago.  The melody appeared on our cell phones after that; and late in his high school career, I once heard him play the song on an electric guitar.

Coming out of court yesterday after a tense battle at the bench over custody of a little boy, I heard the strains of Beethoven’s symphony.  They built to a crescendo, the swell of strings, the rise of the horns, the staccato march of the chorus, the timpani’s relentless punctuation.  My pulse quickened: a claim had to be asserted, a motion drafted, a precious child’s future steadied, the guard around him secured.  I had no time to spare.  As I maneuvered through late afternoon traffic, the music soared within me, rising, rising.  My eyes briefly closed.   A wave of fury washed over me and spilled onto the images of people crowded in the courtroom, especially those intent on winning despite the cost, despite the tragedy, despite the impact on that sweet, trusting child.

Where is the joy in this, I whispered, softly, barely hearing myself over the pounding of my hammering heart.

By the time I got back to the office my question had faded.

But the music lingered.

To Joy

Joy, thou beauteous godly lighting,
Daughter of Elysium,
Fire drunken we are ent’ring
Heavenly, thy holy home!

Thy enchantments bind together,
What did custom’s sword divide,*
Beggars are a prince’s brother,*
Where thy gentle wings abide.

Be embrac’d, ye millions yonder!
Take this kiss throughout the world!
Brothers—o’er the stars unfurl’d
Must reside a loving father.

Friedrich Schiller, 1786; 1803

5 thoughts on “Ode to Joy

  1. Phil Carrott

    So, 20 – 20 hindsight, you could’ve had an interruption in the court (not the correct terminology but you got the drift) and played this to soften them up…..just watching the faces of the “Young” people is priceless. Nice job my friend. What a wonderful way to start the day as I did listening to the music and watching “flash mob” in action. ENJOY…..!!!!1

  2. Pat

    watched the video all the way through, despite wanting to turn it down—lol. Never heard that before, but that is because I avoid this sort of music (anything with violins basically) and country at all costs. Guess it is the one truly unpleasant memory from my childhood, being made to continue to take violin lessons long after I wanted to quit—until one day in about 8th grade I smashed it against the kitchen wall and said, “okay, try to make me play it now” End of my violin lessons—hehehehe. And about the last time my parents tried to make me do something I did not want to do. To this day violins just sound whiny and annoying to me. Don’t think it will ever change. My idea of hell would be listening to violins every day. But despite your love of music I detest, I still admire you and all you do for your clients, especially the most helpless among them. I am sure the child mentioned above will have his life made better by your role in it on his behalf.

    1. ccorleyjd365 Post author

      Pat, I thank you….high praise from one who has done so much more than me to better the world through her legal acumen……this child in particular has my heart, as he is personally known to me; I have watched him from birth. Probably not a great idea to be representing people involved in his custody, but what better advocate than one who already loves him? I try to stay objective in my analysis and advice……..

  3. Cindy Cieplik

    Joy-filled! Thank you!
    While we toil through difficult days, why not music–in the flesh–all around us?!?
    Should be added to the presidential platforms! Oh Joy! To Joy!


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