Hearing your words and not a word among them (Sonnet XXXVI)

Edna St. Vincent Millay

 
Hearing your words, and not a word among them
Tuned to my liking, on a salty day
When inland woods were pushed by winds that flung them
Hissing to leeward like a ton of spray,
I thought how off Matinicus the tide
Came pounding in, came running though the Gut,
While from the Rock the warning whistle cried,
And children whimpered and the doors blew shut;
There in the autumn when the men go forth,
With slapping skirts the island women stand
In gardens stripped and scattered, peering north,
With dahlia tubers dripping from the hand:
The wind of their endurance, driving south,
Flattened your words against your speaking mouth.
 
Edna St. Vincent Millay, "Hearing your words and not a word among them (Sonnet XXXVI)," from Collected Poems. Copyright 1931, 1934, 1939, © 1958 by Edna St. Vincent Millay and Norma Millay Ellis. Reprinted with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc., on behalf of Holly Peppe, Literary Executor, The Millay Society. www.millay.org.

Poems by This Author

Afternoon on a Hill by Edna St. Vincent Millay
I will be the gladdest thing
Ashes of Life by Edna St. Vincent Millay
Love has gone and left me and the days are all alike
Assault by Edna St. Vincent Millay
I had forgotten how the frogs must sound
Childhood is the Kingdom Where Nobody Dies by Edna St. Vincent Millay
Childhood is not from birth to a certain age and at a certain age
Ebb by Edna St. Vincent Millay
I know what my heart is like
First Fig by Edna St. Vincent Millay
My candle burns at both ends
God's World by Edna St. Vincent Millay
O world, I cannot hold thee close enough
Humoresque by Edna St. Vincent Millay
I know I am but summer to your heart (Sonnet XXVII) by Edna St. Vincent Millay
I know I am but summer to your heart
I shall forget you presently, my dear (Sonnet XI) by Edna St. Vincent Millay
I shall forget you presently, my dear
I think I should have loved you presently (Sonnet IX) by Edna St. Vincent Millay
I think I should have loved you presently
I, Being born a Woman and Distressed (Sonnet XLI) by Edna St. Vincent Millay
I, being born a woman and distressed
Inert Perfection by Edna St. Vincent Millay
“Inert Perfection, let me chip your shell
Inland by Edna St. Vincent Millay
People that build their houses inland,
Intention to Escape from Him by Edna St. Vincent Millay
I think I will learn some beautiful language, useless for commercial
Love is Not All (Sonnet XXX) by Edna St. Vincent Millay
Love is not all: it is not meat nor drink
Modern Declaration by Edna St. Vincent Millay
I, having loved ever since I was a child a few things, never having wavered
Passer Mortuus Est by Edna St. Vincent Millay
Death devours all lovely things
Recuerdo by Edna St. Vincent Millay
We were very tired, we were very merry
Renascence by Edna St. Vincent Millay
All I could see from where I stood
Second Fig by Edna St. Vincent Millay
Safe upon the solid rock the ugly houses stand:
She Is Overheard Singing by Edna St. Vincent Millay
Oh, Prue she has a patient man
Spring by Edna St. Vincent Millay
To what purpose, April, do you return again
The Plaid Dress by Edna St. Vincent Millay
Strong sun, that bleach
The Suicide by Edna St. Vincent Millay
"Curse thee, Life, I will live with thee no more!
Thursday by Edna St. Vincent Millay
And if I loved you Wednesday
Time does not bring relief (Sonnet II) by Edna St. Vincent Millay
Time does not bring relief; you all have lied
To a Young Poet by Edna St. Vincent Millay
Time cannot break the bird's wing from the bird
Travel by Edna St. Vincent Millay
The railroad track is miles away
What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why (Sonnet XLIII) by Edna St. Vincent Millay
What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why,
Wild Swans by Edna St. Vincent Millay
I looked in my heart while the wild swans went over
Witch-Wife by Edna St. Vincent Millay
She is neither pink nor pale,


Further Reading

Poems about Voice
Coming and Going
by Tony Hoagland
If My Voice Is Not Reaching You
by Afzal Ahmed Syed
If the ocean had a mouth
by Marie-Elizabeth Mali
Lift Every Voice and Sing
by James Weldon Johnson
Meeting at Night
by Robert Browning
Mrs. Cavendish and the Dancer
by Stephen Dunn
On Silence
by R. Zamora Linmark
Prayer from a Mouse
by Sarah Messer
Silences
by John Montague
Speedway
by Cedar Sigo
The Keeper's Voice
by Mike Carson
The Little Mute Boy
by Federico García Lorca
The Man Whose Voice Has Been Taken From His Throat
by Naomi Shihab Nye
The Voice
by Thomas Hardy
Time
by Chris Martin
Voices
by Sharon Olds
Why is Quiet "Kept"?
by Paul Hoover