Helen Gray Cone

(1859-1934 / United States)

Silence - Poem by Helen Gray Cone

Why should I sing of earth or heaven? not rather rest,
Powerless to speak of that which hath my soul possessed,-
For full possession dumb? Yea, Silence, that were best.

And though for what it failed to sound I brake the string,
And dashed the sweet lute down, a too much fingered thing,
And found a wild new voice,-oh, still, why should I sing?

An earth-song could I make, strange as the breath of earth,
Filled with the great calm joy of life and death and birth?
Yet, were it less than this, the song were little worth.

For this the fields caress; brown clods tell each to each;
Sad-colored leaves have sense whereto I cannot reach;
Spiced everlasting-flowers outstrip my range of speech.

A heaven-song could I make, all fire that yet was peace,
And tenderness not lost, though glory did increase?
But were it less than this, 't were well the song should cease.

For this the still west saith, with plumy flames bestrewn;
Heaven's body sapphire-clear, at stirless height of noon;
The cloud where lightnings pulse, beside the untroubled moon.

I will not sing of earth or heaven, but rather rest,
Rapt by the face of heaven, and hold on earth's warm breast.
Hushed lips, a beating heart, yea, Silence, that were best.

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Poem Submitted: Thursday, April 22, 2010

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