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by Marianne Moore

Silence Summary

The speaker recalls how her father used to describe "superior people." The father begins by discussing what these people do on visits: they never stay for too long, and they don't need to be shown around, presumably because they can find the local attractions themselves.

Next, the poem moves into a graphic description of a cat running off with a mouse's tail dangling from his mouth. (Whoa, Dad.) The speaker's father then claims that, more generally, superior people also know when to keep quiet, because sometimes silence is the best response to being totally delighted or really moved.

Now, the speaker interrupts here to turn back to the father's discussion of visits. He's not exactly lying when he politely tells you to make his house your inn. You have to read more carefully into the words to see what's implied. An inn isn't your home. It's a place you stay only briefly.

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