Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Silence

       “In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.


“The human heart has hidden treasures, In secret kept, in silence sealed; The thoughts, the hopes, the dreams, the pleasures, Whose charms were broken if revealed.” — Charlotte Brontë

       Midweek Motif ~ Silence

We all know how still, quiet or at rest Silence is. What an absolutely soundless world we enter into if we could really step into Silence!

How to bring Silence into this cacophonous, noisy world?

Where to find that soundlessness? Is Silence merely absence of sound or more than that?

Or is it this Silence that we fear most so we fill up every inch of it with sound? Is Silence oppressive?

Let’s explore the world of Silence today:

by Thomas Hood

There is a silence where hath been no sound,
There is a silence where no sound may be,
In the cold grave—under the deep, deep sea,
Or in wide desert where no life is found,
Which hath been mute, and still must sleep profound;
No voice is hush’d—no life treads silently,
But clouds and cloudy shadows wander free,
That never spoke, over the idle ground:
But in green ruins, in the desolate walls
Of antique palaces, where Man hath been,
Though the dun fox or wild hyæna calls,
And owls, that flit continually between,
Shriek to the echo, and the low winds moan—
There the true Silence is, self-conscious and alone. 

After Long Silence
by William Butler Yeats

Speech after long silence; it is right,
All other lovers being estranged or dead,
Unfriendly lamplight hid under its shade,
The curtains drawn upon unfriendly night,
That we descant and yet again descant
Upon the supreme theme of Art and Song:
Bodily decrepitude is wisdom; young
We loved each other and were ignorant. 

by Marianne Moore

My father used to say,
"Superior people never make long visits,
have to be shown Longfellow's grave
nor the glass flowers at Harvard.
Self reliant like the cat --
that takes its prey to privacy,
the mouse's limp tail hanging like a shoelace from its mouth --
they sometimes enjoy solitude,
and can be robbed of speech
by speech which has delighted them.
The deepest feeling always shows itself in silence;
not in silence, but restraint."
Nor was he insincere in saying, "`Make my house your inn'."
Inns are not residences. 

Aprons Of silence
By Carl Sandburg

Many things I might have said today.
And I kept my mouth shut.
So many times I was asked
To come and say the same things
Everybody was saying, no end
To the yes-yes, yes-yes,
me-too, me-too.

The aprons of silence covered me.
A wire and hatch held my tongue.
I spit nails into an abyss and listened.
I shut off the gable of Jones, Johnson, Smith,
All whose names take pages in the city directory.

I fixed up a padded cell and lugged it around.
I locked myself in and nobody knew it.
Only the keeper and the kept in the hoosegow
Knew it--on the streets, in the post office,
On the cars, into the railroad station
Where the caller was calling, "All a-board,
All a-board for . . . Blaa-blaa . . . Blaa-blaa,
Blaa-blaa . . . and all points northwest . . .all a-board."
Here I took along my own hoosegow
And did business with my own thoughts.
Do you see? It must be the aprons of silence. 

Please share your new poem using Mr. Linky below and visit others in the spirit of the community—
 (Next week Susan’s Midweek Motif will be ~ Meteor Showers)


  1. Would that there were more silence in the world! Happy Wednesday, everyone!

  2. Silence has its place, but I for one give those I love silver words...
    Have a good week, everyone!

  3. Gmorning.

    I have had something written all week, but woke up this morning and was inspired to write something completely new - (It was quite exciting) -- maybe I will post another tomorrow of the original one.

    Thanks Sumana for getting the creative juices going.

  4. I LOVE the poems above, Sumana! Especially Thomas Hood's, but all! They make me traverse the types of silence that are chosen or discovered--beyond my cherished Quaker silent worship which was the first one that came to mind. Happy Wednesday. I'm feeling inspired.

  5. @ John Buchanan: I couldn't find the space for comment. It was a heart touching poem, John. The Pause has its impact.

  6. John,

    I would love to leave you a comment as I found yours quite fascinating - but your comment box is filled with a small version of your blog. It may be the filter her at school so I will try later.

    Really well told. It took me about 3/4 of the reading to figure out what was going on. We need to take those moments to pause - and to remember - and not get so caught up in our busy lives that we forget our heroes

  7. @johnbuchanan : Unable to leave a comment on your blog as others have noticed as well. Your poem was vivid and full of detail.. enjoyed it!

    1. Hi Thotpurge, Thanks I am trying to get it fixed.

  8. Hi Folks, thanks for warning me about my comments page, I have put a temporary fix in place, hopefully normal service will resume once I have had some time to talk to Blogger. Looking forward to reading your poems a bit later!

  9. Good morning, kids. It has belatedly come to my attention that today is Wednesday, lol. Will see if I can dislodge something from the cooker. Smiles.

  10. Sumana,
    An excellent Mid-Week Motif prompt. I immediately drew upon a sense of solitude as my poem for this week.
    Happy Wednesday to All at Poets United:)

  11. A thought-provoking prompt this week! While I savor silence, I chose to explore the other side of silence with a haibun. Happy Wednesday, Poets!

  12. Hello everyone! Sorry I just got time after an appointment today and cooking and meeting with my sibling. I will now comment on your poetry as best as I can. Peace and goodwill, James (Hopeful).

  13. Thanks for the prompt. silence reminded me of the times i was afraid of making small talk as an adolescent, afraid they could hear me breathing:) lol

  14. Cheers for an excellent prompt Sumana - I am surprised where it took me.
    Anna :o]


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