Words and Music with Terry Waite

Reading Time: 10 minutes

Mark organised a small fundraising event for Emmaus UK some years ago, whilst in prison. Terry Waite CBE, President of the charity, invited Mark to curate an afternoon of ‘Words and Music’ with him, reflecting upon a selection of moving poems from his new book, ‘Out of the Silence.

We’ve chosen a few moments from that memorable occasion to share with you. Mark performs a short piece of classical music on the violin or piano after each of Terry’s readings. Listening is free, but you’re welcome to make a small donation to Emmaus UK should you wish.

Emmaus is a charity that works to end homelessness by providing people with accommodation in an Emmaus community where they can engage in meaningful work. Residents produce goods and products which are then sold to the local community.

There over 30 Emmaus communities spread across the UK, supporting more than 800 formerly homeless people. In exchange for 40 hours a week and abstaining from drink and drugs, Emmaus companions get a room of their own, food, and clothing, and a small weekly allowance. They also accept applications from prisoners looking for somewhere to stay upon their release.


In this poem, ‘Dreams’, Terry reflects upon his experience of captivity and how he was able to survive.

Mark performs Chopin – Nocturne in B, Op. 32, No. 1. Nocturnes were designed to convey a dream-like state. This piece evokes Chopin’s deep longing for his Polish homeland after settling in Paris in 1830.

Footsteps in the Corridor

Vivid memories of torture and pain are evoked in these moving poems, yet the need to forgo negative and consuming emotions like anger always remained clear to Terry.

Mark performs a medley of Mozart and Beethoven on the piano, starting with ‘Fantasie’ No. 3 in D minor, KV 397, followed by ‘Presto’ Op. 79, Sonata No. 25 in G. Touring from 1762, aged just 7, Mozart had a troubled childhood. This emotional turmoil found expression in his revolutionary use of chromaticism. Mozart died at the age of 35.

A Hidden Place

How can we turn life traumas into creative and transformative experiences? Terry explores what lies within our very souls, as he bares his own.

Mark picks up his violin for a moment to play ‘Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring‘ by J. S. Bach, followed by Handel’s ‘Adagio, 1st movement from Sonata in D, HWV 371‘. Handel became blind in his 60s, his health deteriorating from stress and overwork. He spent the last years of his life in isolation. Bach meanwhile, lost both of his parents before he was 10 years of age. Forced to live in poverty for much of his life, Bach mourned the loss of 7 children during childbirth. Like Handel, he also went blind in his old age, and both men’s acquaintance with loss and pain can be felt reflected in their music.


Terry shines the spotlight on the prevailing issue of homelessness, and the work of the charity he helped found, Emmaus UK.

Mark performs ‘Vals Poético‘ by Enrique Granados on the piano.

Copyright in these poems belongs to © Terry Waite CBE, ‘Out of the Silence’, Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, London, 2016.

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