‘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.


  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.

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