Elizabeth Bishop

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

Sonnet (1928)


I am in need of music that would flow
Over my fretful, feeling finger-tips,
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.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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  • Rookie Poem Hunter (3/21/2010 5:17:00 PM)

    'Sonnet' is one of Bishop's first works, hence her passive tone in her themes. Besides the fact that women weren't suppose to go against men at this time period, she is instigating feminism. In a not so obvious manner, she uses literary devices to hint at this.
    Line 6 is a direct example of feminism; giving rights to women would help them as a whole. (Report) Reply

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