To a Bride

Thou askest, O my friend, a song to-day;
But what soft note, what subtle melody
Can thy young heart’s delicious joy convey?

In Life’s enchanted lyre, one chord alone
Can thrill thee with a music all its own,
And fill thine heart with one most perfect tone.

What need, then, hast thou that I sing to thee?
June roses for thy bridal, fair to see,
Are sweeter music than my notes can be;

And song-birds flitting thro’ the fragrant air,
And stars that gleam, like living eyes, from where
Thine own turn softly in thy troth-plight prayer.

Then silence, sweeter than all varied sound,
Shall fold thee soft, like loving arms around,
For life’s most perfect gift thy heart hath found.


This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on July 16, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“‘Thou askest, O my friend, a song to-day,’ opens Mary Toles Peet’s disarming offering for a Deaf friend’s wedding. Here we catch a fleeting acknowledgment of Peet’s role as one of the Deaf community’s poets laureate, someone friends and organizers of Deaf events could depend on to compose and present a poem, often in American Sign Language (ASL) translation but sometimes, problematically, orally. Like most Deaf occasional poets of the nineteenth century, Peet did not pursue mainstream literary publications. We are fortunate that she was so often asked, as the idea of addressing her own community had excited her talents in ways that the idea of a larger, hearing readership never did.”
—John Lee Clark