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About this Poem 

“A Minor Poet” was published in Benét’s book Young Adventure (Yale University Press, 1918).

A Minor Poet

I am a shell. From me you shall not hear
The splendid tramplings of insistent drums,
The orbed gold of the viol’s voice that comes,
Heavy with radiance, languorous and clear.
Yet, if you hold me close against the ear,
A dim, far whisper rises clamorously,
The thunderous beat and passion of the sea,
The slow surge of the tides that drown the mere.

Others with subtle hands may pluck the strings,
Making even Love in music audible,
And earth one glory. I am but a shell
That moves, not of itself, and moving sings;
Leaving a fragrance, faint as wine new-shed,
A tremulous murmur from great days long dead.
 

This poem is in the public domain.

This poem is in the public domain.

Stephen Vincent Benét

Stephen Vincent Benét was born July 22, 1898. His most famous work is the long poem John Brown's Body, for which he received the Pulitzer Prize in 1929.

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Far into July and August, heavy with leaf,
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Bristol's daughter and Wingate's bride,
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(For, though not to, D. M. C.)

The member with the face like a pale ham
Settles his stomachs in the leather chair.
The member with the mustard-color hair
Chats with the member like a curly ram,
Then silence like the shutting of a clam,
Gulps, and slow eating, and the