‘T is you that are the music, not your song.
The song is but a door which, opening wide,
Lets forth the pent-up melody inside,
Your spirit’s harmony, which clear and strong
Sings but of you. Throughout your whole life long
Your songs, your thoughts, your doings, each divide
This perfect beauty; waves within a tide,
Or single notes amid a glorious throng.
The song of earth has many different chords;
Ocean has many moods and many tones
Yet always ocean. In the damp Spring woods
The painted trillium smiles, while crisp pine cones
Autumn alone can ripen. So is this
One music with a thousand cadences.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Amy Lowell's poem Listening


  1. alex says:

    do you like the poem personally?

  2. alex says:

    what is the form of this particular poem

  3. alex says:

    what year was this poem made?

  4. Stuart Rapp says:

    General poetry reading is not my forte, but I am often “stopped” by particular poems. I became aware of “Listening” through the choral composition “You Are the Music” by Dan Forrest. Since in my own life experience I have often struggled with the same seeming dichotomy of the music and the song (Marshall Macluhan to the contrary notwithstanding), I could not help being arrested by the music, first, and then the poem. For me, it is a notable marriage.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Do you have any comments, criticism, paraphrasis or analysis of this poem that you feel would assist other visitors in understanding the meaning or the theme of this poem by Amy Lowell better? If accepted, your analysis will be added to this page of American Poems. Together we can build a wealth of information, but it will take some discipline and determination.