Posts Tagged ‘silence’

Because you are gone,
I will never again stand
in your doorway and listen
to the sound of your breath
as you sleep.
I can remember the way
it used to calm me—
the slow, even rhythm
that proved you were alive.
I used to laugh at myself.
As if you wouldn’t be alive.
How farfetched it felt,
the idea of your death.
Now, I hear the absence
of your breath everywhere—
everywhere is a doorway
where I find you are not.
And so I listen.

Sometimes it seems as if a silence
is breathing me,
and somehow, you live in that silence.
I don’t know how it works.
I only know that since you are gone,
sometimes listening feels like communion.
Sometimes when I am very quiet,
when there is no sound at all,
I hear you say nothing.
It’s everything.

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At the Church

Come with me, he said,
and he led me up the narrow stairs,
then led me up more narrow stairs
until we arrived in the small sacred nest—
a tiny square room with tall stained glass windows
and two small couches and the kind of silence
one longs to meet—the silence that says,
sister, I have been waiting for you
to climb the narrow stairs to find me.
The silence that says, now that we have found each other
even when you leave,
I will come with you.

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Ode to the Echo

Sister of silence, you give back to the world
the shadow of every sound you are given.
You reshape the air to unsharpen the shout.
You unshrill the scream until it’s quieter,
then nothing at all.
There is no sound so harsh you can’t soften it.
And come song? You re-sing the melody
so beauty will linger like the rich shimmer inside a gong.
Not once have you said your own words.
Not once have you intoned your own tune.
Not once have you heard your own voice
or spoken your own truth.
Not once have you lied.
Not once have you made a promise
you could not keep.   
Sometimes, when I am brave,
I try to echo you, which is to say
I let silence enter my inner walls,
where it bounces in me like sound in a cave
until all I hear is the resonant repeat
of the most ancient of languages you speak—
silence, silence, silence.
There is no part of me uneroded,
no part your waves don’t touch.

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So I light a candle
and though I am hundreds
of miles from you,
I say your name
into the flame—
your name
and the name
of your beloved
who is gone—
these the only
syllables worth saying.
Then I hold silence for you
the way the earth
holds the ocean,
the way a canyon
holds wind,
the way a broken heart
holds another
broken heart.

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Ridgway, Colorado

On a day when the human world feels like a fist—
when it clenches and squeezes,
fierce and relentless—
I leave the four walls and sit
on an old fallen cottonwood tree,
long and silver and smooth.
There, in the center of a wide river valley,
I sit. And sit. And sit.
And the tall green grasses
and the graceful white yarrow don’t refuse me.
And the murmur of waves
and the musk-yellow scent of sweet clover
replace any thoughts, save being here.
The ring of red mesas
with their vast crowns of spruce
form a vase great enough to hold it all—
and I am gathered into spaciousness
along with dark green sedges and white butterflies,
with the tantrums of brambles
and the tangled flight patterns
of thousands on thousands of dark tiny flies.
A flock of birds rise all at once from the river
and my heart and my eyes rise, too.
A long time passes before I am quiet enough
to hear the chorus in the willows,
the bright clicking of insect wings,
the silence that weaves through everything.
Then the flickers come close
and the dragonflies draw nearer in.
And I current. I cloud. I leaf. I wing.
I leave unwalled, un-selved.
The spaciousness comes with me.

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I can be the silence
that touches your skin
like raw silk,
silence soft as a lover’s hand,
silence that holds you
when you have pushed
everyone away, even me.

I can be the silence
that leans in to know you,
silence that opens
like the scent of peonies,
silence that opens
like troughs between waves.

I can be silence
that wears clunky boots
and the silence
of the phone that does not ring.

Though I want to give you
the gift of my arms, the gift
of my ears, the gift of now,
I am learning to be the silence
that gives you the gift of yourself—

silence of patience, silence of time,
generous silence, tender silence,
silence that falls like the softest rain,
silence of sunshine, silence of soil,
silence of leaf, silence of bud
as it grows into what it will be.

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I want to listen to your absence
the way I listen to the night—
the way the dark somehow
invites a deeper listening.
I want to hear, for instance,
the way silence fills in
where your voice has been,
or the way the room seems to know itself
by the pound of missing footsteps,
and in this way, I find you
where I cannot find you.
I am thinking of how the night opens up
between the calls of the owl
and how I listen in that interval
not only with my ears, but with my skin.
I want to listen for you with my lungs—
as if every breath is attentive
to the syllables of grief, of love.
I want my heart to angle in
to hear what the silence has to say.
I don’t want to hear what I most want to hear—
I want to hear what is really here.
I want to listen and learn from the listening.
I want to hear what is true.
I want to listen into your absence
and lean into it the way I lean into the night—
something so much larger than me,
something familiar and always new,
something so present, yet unable to be touched.
Something I am still learning to love.


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Quiet Connection

Any morning is a chance

to walk the same path

I have walked before

and listen. Listen

to the silence between

steps, between breaths,

inside joy, inside loss,

the silence that sometimes

fills in the cathedral of thoughts,

the silence that holds

all that is. Sometimes

the silence clings to a moment,

sticks to me,

like the lingering scent

of rabbit brush on the fingers,

like a favorite song

that won’t leave the ear.

The same path

is never the same,

and listening to silence

is always new.

Sometimes my own silence

helps me to hear

the silence of my loves

who are gone.

I could not have known it before,

how intimate it can be,

the communion of our silence.

how in these quietest of moments,

filled with nothing

but listening, open,

we meet.

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One day, I will walk into the quiet,
calm of the empty home. No TV.
No pinging of phones.
No one asking what there is to eat.
No one wondering if I can drive them.
No one telling me their dreams.
I will hear only the sound
of rain, of thunder,
of the wind rattling the inner doors.
Perhaps I will hear my own pounding heart,
the heart I thought belonged to me.
But there, in the dim light of the storm,
I might at last know for certain
the heart is made for giving away.
There are many ways to love.
Some of them are clearest
when I am most alone.

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in the silence
the small talk
a whole life
is lived—
a life
in which
you are
only more so,
a self without
name, a self
of no
where, a
self unselved,
is to say
that sometimes
in the silence
of a minute
you find
some vision
so vast
so true
that you weep
before saying,
And how are you?

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