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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.

Helen Gray Cone

Helen Gray Cone's other poems:
  1. Thisbe
  2. A Nest in a Lyre
  3. The Immortal Word
  4. Arraignment
  5. The Story of the Orient

Poems of the other poets with the same name:

  • Thomas Hood Silence ("There is a silence where hath been no sound")
  • Henry King, Bishop of Chichester Silence ("Peace my hearts blab, be ever dumb")
  • Eleanor Farjeon Silence ("Words and the body always have been much pain to me")
  • Edgar Poe Silence ("There are some qualitiessome incorporate things")
  • Edgar Masters Silence ("I have known the silence of the stars and of the sea")

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