As a young boy returning home from boarding school, Sam Franks is drawn to local girl Silvy, who wears leg braces to counteract a weakness that prevents her from walking. Silvy shares her love of poetry with Sam, and they draw slowly closer, ending with a night at the lake, where Sam removes Silvy's leg braces so that the two can dance in the water. But when Sam releases Silvy's hand to point out a shooting star, she slips under the water. Her body is not found for years.
Twenty years later, Sam returns home once more for his father's funeral. On the train, he meets a woman, Ruby, whom he later pulls from the river when she falls from a bridge. The more time he spends with Ruby, the more convinced Sam becomes that she is Silvy returned to him.
'Till human voices wake us, and we drown' is the final line of 'The Love Song of Alfred J. Prufrock' by T. S. Eliot. Other lines appear throughout the film (most notably, the opening line: 'Let us go then, you and I.)'