Continual Conversation with a Silent Man

(1983)

"Continual Conversation with a Silent Man" is the third song in Lee Hoiby's song cycle O Florida of 1983. The cycle is for voice and piano.

Continual Conversation with a Silent Man
by Wallace Stevens


The old brown hen and the old blue sky,
Between the two we live and die--
The broken cartwheel on the hill.


As if, in the presence of the sea,
We dried our nets and mended sail
And talked of never-ending things,


Of the never-ending storm of will,
One will and many wills, and the wind,
Of many meanings in the leaves,


Brought down to one below the eaves,
Link, of that tempest, to the farm,
The chain of the turquoise hen and sky


And the wheel that broke as the cart went by.
It is not a voice that is under the eaves.
It is not speech, the sound we hear


In this conversation, but the sound
Of things and their motion: the other man,
A turquoise monster moving round.


--Wallace Stevens: The Collected Poems, pp. 359-360


Audio PLaylist