Verse > Anthologies > Harriet Monroe, ed. > Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, 1912–22
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Harriet Monroe, ed. (1860–1936).  Poetry: A Magazine of Verse.  1912–22.
 
Silence of the Night
By Maurice Browne
 
I
THE SILENCE of the night is full of voices,
Voices like the trumpets of angels
Blown across the stars from the ramparts of heaven,
Voices like the stillness
Of one newly dead.        5
The silence of the night,
Empty of cry of bird or beast,
Empty of stir of leaf or branch,
Empty of all human utterance,
Is filled with voices.        10
 
In the silence of the night
I stood by the garden pool in the darkness
And I heard a voice crying,
Wake!
For the feet of Him who comes are on the threshold of the worlds.        15
Wake!
For He holds the worlds in His hands.
 
In the silence of the night
In the shadows by the pool in the darkness
I heard a voice answer:        20
Sleep:
For the hour of waking will come, will come.
Sleep, and dream not. Sleep, and be at rest.
Sleep,
While ye may.        25
 
In the silence of the night
I heard a voice
Like the trumpet of an angel;
In the silence of the night
I heard a voice        30
Like a soul passing:
Where the trees brood over the pool
In the darkness of my garden.
 
II
Then
In the silence of the night        35
Suddenly
I heard a woman weeping,
And I heard a girl singing:
By the pool
In the darkness of my garden        40
In the stillness of the night.
 
O singing girl, singing girl, singing girl,
Singing through the night,
Singing, singing, under the trees,
Singing, singing, singing, beside the pool in the darkness,        45
“Come away,” singing, “Come away, O my lover,”
“Love! Love! Love!” singing like a bird among the branches,
Golden-throated singer, young for ever, undying,
Singing of love all night among the shadows under the silence,
Under the silence of the stars,        50
Under the silence of the night,
Under the eternal silence:
Sing! sing! sing!
Sing for ever, for ever through the darkness,
Sing through the silence, sing through the everlasting silence,        55
Sing! shattering the silence
You also
For ever.
 
In the silence of the night
I heard a girl singing,        60
And I heard a woman
Weeping in the darkness.
 
O singing girl, singing girl,
Singing all night long,
Singing of love, of love, to my heart in the darkness of the garden,        65
“Love! Love! Love! Love!” singing full-throated, triumphal,
Virginal, golden-hearted, magical in the stillness:
Sing for ever, for ever.
 
In the silence of the night
I heard a girl singing,        70
And I heard a woman weeping:
A woman weeping,
Weeping in the darkness.
 
Singing girl, O singing girl,
Sing for me again in the darkness,        75
Sing for me, sing for me, in the darkness,
Sing again, sing again for me in the darkness:
O singing girl, singing girl,
Sing for me again.
 
By the pool        80
In the silence of the night
I heard a woman weeping,
A woman weeping in the darkness,
Quietly, ceaselessly
Weeping in the darkness        85
Through the long night,
Through the night that will not end,
Through the eternal night.
 
O singing girl, my singing girl
Rain, rain, rain.        90
Rain among the leaves and on the branches,
Rain on the branches in the darkness:
Rain.
 
Lost, lost, lost.
O lost, O lonely, O forsaken!        95
O my lover, O lonely, O my lover!
Lost.
 
Never, never, never.
Nevermore his feet upon the threshold:
O the trumpet that pealed upon the threshold!        100
Nevermore, never, never.
 
Thereafter,
By the pool, listening,
I heard silence enfold the night:
Where the wet trees        105
Make a darkness of my garden.
 
III
And again, a third time,
The silence of the night was filled with voices:
Antiphonal voices like the trumpets of the sons of God
Pealing from star to star across the ramparts of heaven;        110
Answering voices hushed like the stillness
Of one dead who will not awaken.
The silence after the song had ceased,
The silence that followed after
The tears of another,        115
Were aflame and terrible with voices.
 
What is the silence of the night to us?
Or the tears of a woman?
Or the singing of a girl in the darkness?
Or the silence after the singing?        120
What to us are silence and song?
 
Then
Over and under and about the silence
And through the silence
And filling the silence,        125
While dawn
Moving over the darkness
Touched like a lover the pool in my garden,
The voices of the night met and mingled
And were one:        130
 
Make an end of tears in the night:
Make an end of singing in the darkness:
Sing in the dawn, the dawn!
In the dawn make a song of your tears:
Let your tears be a song for ever        135
In the great silence.
 
In the hush of dawn
Between the night and the day
I heard this voice,
A voice like the stillness of God.

    1916
        140
 
 
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