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by Edna St. Vincent Millay

Analysis: Sound Check

Remember when you had to sign people's yearbooks? You get a yearbook back that's filled with stuff like "BFF 4Eva" and "You're so cool. Thanks for sitting next to me in study hall." It's all pretty run-of-the-mill stuff, right?

But then there's that one person – the crazy, cool, not-scared-to-do-anything-or-say-anything friend of yours – who takes up an entire page writing out that story about that one time that the two of you did…well, you know what you did.

Just turning back to that page is enough to make you smile. And that's what this poem "sounds" like – a private smile as the speaker remembers a really, really good night. You can almost see the poem scrawled across the last page of someone's calendar or tucked into their backpack. It's a personal memory.

The repetition of the first line in each stanza works almost like an incantation: as you read it, you remember what it was like to feel tired and merry. And as each line rushes into the next, using first words such as "and" to pull us straight into the new line, we feel the excitement of a memory being built, layer by layer.

Then, just like a yearbook entry, it ends on a happy note – "you" and the speaker did something pretty remarkable, really. And that's as good a place to stop remembering as any!

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