Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


Suspend, Singer Swan

Suspend, singer swan, the sweet strain:
see how the lord that Delphi sees
exchanges for you the gentle lyre for pipe
and to Admetus makes a pastoral sound.

As gentle song, though strong, moved
stones and tamed the wrath of hell,
so it retreats, abashed, when you are heard:
your instrument blames the church itself.

For though the works of ancient builders
cannot match its columns, 
nothing's greater than your song 

when your clear voice strikes its stones,
and your sweet tones surpass it,
dwarf it, while making it grow the more.

Credit


Copyright © 2004 by Michael Smith. Reprinted by permission of the translator and Shearsman Books Ltd.

Author


Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz

Born on November 12, 1651, Juana Inés de Asbaje y Ramírez would eventually become a nun and a poet known as Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz.

Date Published: 2004-01-01

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/suspend-singer-swan