Title: “Enough Words”
• The title of the poem, "Enough Words," speaks to our tendency to try
to solve things, or to over ﬁx problems. It can be read as almost a
command, as though we are being told that we have said too much.
That is enough. Also, the simplicity of the statement leads us by
example in how we should react: simply. Calmly.
• Speaker: A casual person
• Occasion: The speaker casually advises his friend to let things go,
relax, don't try to ﬁx everything.
• Audience: A friend
• Paraphrase: Not every problem needs a complicated solution, let alone
any solution at all.
• The word "shadow" means a dark shape or ominous presence. It has a
very negative connotation and is often used as a metaphor for
something that we should try to escape; however, the speaker advices
his friend to accept his shadows, allow them to catch up. He uses the
negative connotation of the word shadow, but then says that shadows
can be a good thing, they help you, they make you who you are. This
shows that not everything we think is problematic should be ﬁxed
• "What hurts you, blesses you./Darkness is your candle./Your
boundaries are your quest" (12-14) are all examples of paradoxes.
The speaker uses them to show that what we believe to be bad isn't
necessarily always the thing that hurts us. In fact, sometimes our
problems help us.
• The word “grain” in line 33 means a small dry seed; however it is
associated with wholesomeness, beginnings, simplicity. The grain in
this case has a very positive connotation. It is something that we
should strive for.
• Similarly, the barley is symbolic of peace. It is simplistic in that "When
you put it in the ground it grows." It does not complain about where
you put it, instead it ignores or overcomes problems and hardships. It
is where the soul wants to reside, where it should reside. The speaker
uses the barley as an ideal. We should be like the barley: stoic.
• Lines 23-31 are an allegory that uses the hunting of a frog by a snake
as a representation of humanities tendencies. It shows that when the
frog, who is representing us, humanity, tries to leave the water that he
is familiar with, or tries to learn to hiss he gets eaten by the snake.
This essentially is saying that when we try to ﬁnd an overcomplicated
solution we only make our situation worse, whereas when we leave well
enough alone we end up better off, as shown by the fact that when
the frog says nothing he survives.
• There us no allusion in this poem; however there is a reference to a
cliche when the speaker says "Don't try to put out ﬁre/ by throwing on
more ﬁre" (3-4). This is a a contradiction of the saying "Fight ﬁre with
ﬁre." It is used to show that sometimes when we try to ﬁx everything we
simply add to the agitation, making the problem worse.
• In the sentence "When from that tree, feathers and wings sprout/ on
you, be quieter than a a dove" (20-21), the words "quieter" and
"sprout" us the harsh sound of the "T" to show that the experience
could be agitating, or even painful, but the speaker says not to "open
your mouth" (22), not to protest.
• "Listen and lay your head under the tree of awe" demonstrates
euphony because the words ﬂow together. They sound peaceful and
sweet because what the sentence, and the poem, are trying to say is
that we need to settle down. We get caught up in the problems in the
world and try to ﬁx too much, when really what we need to be doing is
ﬁnding peace, and observing. We need to listen, not talk. We need to
• The tone is relaxed, as shown by the euphony, which serves to
illustrate the peace that we should live by.
• "Shall I squeeze more juice from this" (37) is a metaphor because he is not
physically straining a lemon, he is talking about forcing more words into this
explanation. The act of squeezing is difﬁcult, thus he is saying that he is
forcing himself to explain, it is not even an unconscious habit anymore, but
instead it takes effort. Perhaps this illustrates how severe our tendencies to
explicate and ﬁx are, we do it until it becomes an uncomfortable, unnatural
• This is metaphor is an example of irony because at the end of the poem the
speaker points out that he has been demonstrating dramatic irony
throughout the poem because, while the meaning of the poem is to go with
the ﬂow and not feel a need to be always explaining always ﬁxing, the entire
poem is a winded explanation of why we should do this.
• There is no meter or rhyme. This serves to demonstrate how we should
be more ﬂuid. Go with the ﬂow. It would be a contradiction of the
message of the poem if it conformed to a ridged set of rhymes and
syllables. Instead the poem is much more relaxed, conversational, and