Elizabeth Bishop

(8 February 1911 – 6 October 1979 / Worcester, Massachusetts)

I Am In Need Of Music - Poem by Elizabeth Bishop

I am in need of music that would flow
Over my fretful, feeling fingertips,
Over my bitter-tainted, trembling lips,
With melody, deep, clear, and liquid-slow.
Oh, for the healing swaying, old and low,
Of some song sung to rest the tired dead,
A song to fall like water on my head,
And over quivering limbs, dream flushed to glow!

There is a magic made by melody:
A spell of rest, and quiet breath, and cool
Heart, that sinks through fading colors deep
To the subaqueous stillness of the sea,
And floats forever in a moon-green pool,
Held in the arms of rhythm and of sleep.


Comments about I Am In Need Of Music by Elizabeth Bishop

  • Gold Star - 17,852 Points Kim Barney (3/18/2015 6:08:00 PM)

    I responded to Mark Tafel's comment, and I just noticed that it appeared in two places: with his comment and as a separate comment! So my comment below that starts with I COULDN'T AGREE MORE, I was talking to Mark. (Report) Reply

    1 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Silver Star - 3,852 Points John Richter (3/18/2015 8:25:00 AM)

    Elizabeth is by far one of my favorite poets, but her poems are not like poems to me. They transcend words, thoughts, or emotions and rip into me the impression of this completely beautiful soul.... It is like no other poet I have ever known. She often described herself as a lesbian poet but I think that falls way short of who she really was. Her vision, her loveliness was sexless to me, using her mind and pen to wrap my own soul into a warm blanket where I think making love to her is the closest physical thing that can be used to describe the intimacy and breadth of her soul and expression.... Saying that I love Elizabeth Bishop is merely placating words to describe a feeling which is indescribable. Sad though, that it must suffice. (Report) Reply

  • Gold Star - 18,333 Points Edward Kofi Louis (2/25/2015 7:46:00 AM)

    Nice piece of poem. Thanks for sharing this poem with us.

    E.K.L. (Report) Reply

    Gold Star - 17,852 Points Kim Barney (3/18/2015 6:03:00 PM)

    Uh, Edward, if you are thanking Elizabeth for the poem, she died in 1979. If you are instead thanking Poem Hunter, that's fine, but it's a whole poem, not just a piece of one. :)

  • Rookie - 0 Points Mark Tafel (12/5/2014 11:03:00 AM)

    I love the poem, but hate, hate, hate the robotic voice of the video. I just want to jump off the nearest bridge, listening to this very good poem being destroyed by the mechanical voice. What a tremendous disservice to poetry by having poems rendered in such an inhuman way. Strike the set immediately, and rebuild it with recordings of human voices actually expressing the musical qualities of poetry. The irony that I should find this horrible shortcoming of this site with this poem. I am in need of poetry that is given a human interpretative voice. (Report) Reply

    Gold Star - 17,852 Points Kim Barney (3/18/2015 5:59:00 PM)

    I couldn't agree more. Even though I changed my profile months ago and clicked the box that said I DO NOT WANT VIDEO ADDED TO ANY OF MY POEMS, PH has still added video to two of them since that time. When I find they have added it, I submit the same poem with a new title and then delete the original with that awful soundtrack.

  • Rookie - 0 Points Mark Tafel (12/5/2014 11:00:00 AM)

    I love the poem, but hate, hate, hate the robotic voice of the video. I just want to jump off the nearest bridge, listening to this very good poem being destroyed by the mechanical voice. What a tremendous disservice to poetry by having poems rendered in such an inhuman way. Strike the set immediately, and rebuild it with recordings of human voices actually expressing the musical qualities of poetry. The irony that I should find this horrible shortcoming of this site with this poem. I am in need of poetry that is given a human interpretative voice. (Report) Reply

  • Gold Star - 14,919 Points * Sunprincess * (6/22/2014 8:40:00 PM)

    ........one of the most delicious romantic poems I have ever read.....so exquisite and so refine.... (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 181 Points Brian Jani (6/19/2014 4:42:00 AM)

    I am amazed by your style of poetry (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Ujala Khan (11/18/2013 8:21:00 AM)

    it is an awesome poem. i can understand it very clearly (Report) Reply

  • Freshman - 799 Points Yasmeen Khan (5/28/2013 3:32:00 AM)

    'music gentler on the spirits lies than the tired eyelids upon tired eyes'.....it's dreamy and soft (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Kristen Sette (10/28/2008 4:47:00 PM)

    can someone explain this poem to me! ! i dont get it that much and i have to know what it means! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Isabel Cadilha (6/18/2008 1:03:00 PM)

    Don't we all have that same need?
    The definition could not be better.
    ; p (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 29 Points Robert Howard (12/24/2006 1:27:00 PM)

    Delicious imagery (cinnamon or not) imbedded in a perfect Italian sonnet with effortless rhyme. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Eric Mumford (11/27/2005 5:20:00 PM)

    This reminds me of a perfect cinnamon-donut. (Report) Reply

Read all 15 comments »




Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Read poems about / on: magic, song, music, moon, green, water, dream, sleep, sea, heart



Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003



[Hata Bildir]