Anachan's Corner

One woman's journey through marriage, motherhood, and the classroom…

Speak Softly

Written By: Anachan

This poem is a villanelle, a poetic form which originated with French poetry, but has been used since then by poets writing in English. I originally wrote this poem as a sort of challenge, after a friend commented that this form would be difficult to use. (After that comment, I just had to try it out!) I used iambic pentameter because, as I tell my students, it fits so nicely with the English language. Recently, I tweaked the poem a bit, rewriting a few lines, adding punctuation, and such.

Speak Softly, When You Speak My Name Aloud, by Anneliese Kvamme

Speak softly, when you speak my name aloud,
For gentle winds will that hushed voice resound,
And I will hear thee, o’er the murm’ring crowd.


As God has not on me great charm endowed,
Nor greater knowledge can I dare expound,
Speak softly when you speak my name aloud.

Thy words from ages past dispel the cloud
Which yet would hide thy mem’ry underground,
And I still hear thee, o’er the murm’ring crowd.


What need have we for voice or accents loud,
For soul can speak to soul without a sound?
Speak softly, when you speak my name aloud.

Though mayhap time and trial thy head has bowed,
Yet I see thee with light and glory crowned,
And I will hear thee, o’er the murm’ring crowd.

So heed my wish of thee, for I have vowed
To keep thy name to my heart ever bound:
Speak softly, when you speak my name aloud,
And I will hear thee, o’er the murm’ring crowd.

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