The Speech of Silence

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by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

The solemn Sea of Silence lies between us;
           I know thou livest, and them lovest me,
And yet I wish some white ship would come sailing
           Across the ocean, beating word from thee.

The dead calm awes me with its awful stillness.
           No anxious doubts or fears disturb my breast;
I only ask some little wave of language,
           To stir this vast infinitude of rest.

I am oppressed with this great sense of loving;
           So much I give, so much receive from thee;
Like subtle incense, rising from a censer,
           So floats the fragrance of thy love round me.

All speech is poor, and written words unmeaning;
           Yet such I ask, blown hither by some wind,
To give relief to this too perfect knowledge,
           The Silence so impresses on my mind.

How poor the love that needeth word or message,
           To banish doubt or nourish tenderness!
I ask them but to temper love's convictions
           The Silence all too fully doth express.

Too deep the language which the spirit utters;
           Too vast the knowledge which my soul hath stirred.
Send some white ship across the Sea of Silence,
           And interrupt its utterance with a word.

from Poems of Passion by Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1883)

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