Tag Archives: silence

I sing of an age

I Sing of an age that’s almost flown
Birds whose voices raised the morning sky
Wild landscapes, spread out to receive the naked sun
Trees whose roots embraced the earth, yet towered high
Seeds that sprang up fragile life, silent but for the wind

I sing of the age of crumbling dust
Rumbling wheeled boxes that fume with piercing cries
Houses molded for masses, as if carved from a single stone
Plants with their exhalations of thick smoke, clouding corroded concrete fields

Forests that burn while communities fall
Beneath a cacophony of chorused lies
Millions enslaved to masters ticking on the wall
Hands that wring the time from unlived lives

Endless games of monopoly and musical coins
Galleries of staged photographs, manufactured mirrors to memory
Chiseled bodies, carved into perfection, whose occupants still seethe with self-loathing and hate
Gold palaces, beneath which bones rattle the dark restlessly

Stories of renewal on tips of tongues that never tasted rain
The deserts of souls whose blood runs dry
Endless grey complacency to numb the festering and open wounds
A harvest of pain sewn from all we deny

Wars waged to sunder, to ravish with rage
A wasteland of frightened faces fleeing for shelter, turned away
Nuclear families forced to split apart, fission into half-lives
Screams in school yards and the drip of silence cold as death

Generations gaunt and starving and those who crushed them to make their start
Spilled greed that leaves a spreading stain
A sea of fear to fill the ever-widening divide
ANONYMOUS sentries sent to defend and guard against each broken heart

Children who are taught to lose themselves before they’re formed
Men and women wanderers with vacant hollow eyes
Their tears from banished terrors fall stillborn
Life lingers, though breath’s motion fades as oceans rise

I sing of an age bereft and slowly breaking
Each, though aching, standing alone
Among the paths still left to us for taking
Could we accept and meet this age, and one another, as our own

Sadhbh Speaks

Golden tresses spill, a cascade of sun-soaked tears,
And you await homecoming, forever at the threshold of the world.
In the song of silent empty hands, you grieve alone.

The waterfall roars your screams from world to world,
A thousand tumbled beads still rippling with the shimmers of last light’s touch,
Golden tresses spilling a cascade of sun-soaked tears.

I wept such tears once, as the eagle flew far beyond the sky,
Before shadows eclipsed an abandoned sun, or my screams died in singing silence.
If only I’d awaited homecoming, forever at the threshold of the world.

Dear hearth-daughter I never knew, we keen for our deer ones the same.
If you turned just once to look behind you, would you know me by my sad doe eyes?
Your family aches to fill your empty hands with love. There is no need to grieve alone.

***

Photo from Jane Dougherty’s now quite past poetry challenge from way back on the first of June. Check out her blog and all the entries which made it both on time and in the official round-up, Silent Cascade Poetry Entries. We were supposed to use the above poetry form and the words cascade, eagle, tresses, abandon, and rippling. This poem has been in my head in several different versions for the past two weeks but I have fallen seriously behind in all things blogospheric (yes, that’s a real word … starting now!) I’ll keep attempting to catch up again.

Keys to the Forgotten Song #writephoto

In the beginning the keys were known. Their place and purpose was common knowledge. They were discussed in passing as we might talk about the weather, the planning of meals, or the news. The keys made life what it was: they unlocked the people’s joys and sorrows, they opened new spaces within which to begin, become and belong. They gave them access to adventure, growth, grieving and love, finding and leaving, succeeding and failing, wanting and being enough.
The keys kept the song of the world in tune, according each the measure of who they were, each knowing the reasons for the bars in the way, each aware of the immense value of the rests and how the melody could not proceed where silence was not allowed.

And then, gradually, the keys were forgotten, lost. No one could say what or where they were. No children were taught their purpose and meaning. No elders wove stories of love and belonging, grief and mending. Soon enough, such neglect took its toll.

First, the threads, soft strings that kept the world in tune, in resonant resilience, began to unravel. For the most part this unraveling went unnoticed. Only the composers among the people, trained to listen deeply to the ever present song, heard the dissolution into discord. They would often give voice to the unstable harmonies, the discordant measures, trying desperately to change the way notes were conducted over and over again long after their time had passed. Most of their warnings fell on deaf ears. Sometimes people merely increased the volume of their own individual melodies in order to drown everything else out; sometimes the composers new and disturbing melodies would abruptly be brought to an end. These latter reactions made the music of the world more and more unbearable. The strings screeched and snagged, scratched and snapped. And this calamitous clamor only amplified, increasing in tempo and pitch.

People grew frantic and desperate. They no longer could remember what the song was for, or why it existed at all. In their forgetting, they began to no longer value individual melodies. In the forgetting, they lost their threads of their stories. In their forgetting, they no longer understood the necessity of rests, that music needed not only sound but its absence to survive.

So the people found it normal to insist that the best melodies were those which never had pauses, but went on and on without ceasing. They invented ways to play ever longer series of notes without ceasing. One of the fastest ways to do this was to play the same notes over and over again without ceasing. Eventually, generations of people never rested, but lived and died without ceasing, in ignorance of the sound of silence.

Finally the time came when this arrangement was no longer a sustainable option for anyone. The din was chaotic, catastrophically cacophonous. No one wanted to part with their many unmusical creations which they valued so dearly. And so it was decided that the song should be shut away. For so long the people had shut out the silence, confining it to emptiness the way one might drive light into its shadow. In a strange twist of fate, the land ceased its singing, and the shadow was all that remained.

The people needed a way to contain such a vastly woven web of song which for so long had throbbed at the center of life like the heart and soul of the world. At once the greatest engineers of the land held a great convention at which it was decided that they should forge an iron chest and that the song should be confined to it, instead of being allowed as it was to flow and flood everyone and everything, sending as it did so the pulse of itself everywhere.

The task was undertaken immediately, and people were congratulated on how much progress they made as they worked ceaselessly to finish, day and night. At its completion, they poured the song inside, slamming the heavy lid to seal it in with a clang. It is said that, though many lost their lives in the chest’s creation, once it had been buried no one could remember how to cry for their lost ones. They did not even know how to speak to one another. Now, even the song is lost, hidden in the land where it awaits the time when once again it is set free to restore balance to the earth and soften the hardened and harsh hearts of humankind.

I don’t know why I was the one to discover the chest these centuries later, its hinges twisted and rusted with time, its three locks mocking and massive, its contents as mysterious as the legend left to us in our fading memory.

Perhaps, as I have been told I came from a line of composers, I was simply blessed with the fortune: whether good or ill I cannot yet say. All I know is the all-consuming search for the keys. All I have to follow is this single stray note according to which I can discover them. It reads: “Compassion, Gentleness, Division: at their beginning, these words hold the keys. For these are all that is needed to set singing a changing, growing, turning world. Each breaks the heavy heart of silence. Each turns a lock in the chest. When each is placed where it belongs and all three are held equally together, the song will return.”

The first part is easy enough to figure out. The beginning letters of the words are C, G, and D. But as to how and in what way these could be keys, I cannot say. Perhaps you remember?

In response to Sue’s photo prompt, The Chest.

Wordless

I have had little to say
For I cannot both speak
And share these silences
Heavy with honesty

Hidden heartbeats
Leaves uncurling
Reaching hands

I cannot map change onto an undiscovered landscape
Describe time’s tides not yet sailed
Or make verses of untold

Fragile possibilities
Nascent and naked
Stretching soft tendrils
To touch a turning world

I cannot choreograph the wondrous waves
Crashing down croppings of rock
To cradle the clay creature I am

Cascading a cadence, playful and wild
As the wind whips them free
Flying, falling, sea strand and sea
Uncertainty churning the breath of the sky

How it cries aloud what could be my name
And how I am leaping, leaping through
Before I even understand

Breathless and smiling
Swept up, gathered close in
Fierce love, bewildered, untamed

Dark Night

For you said,
“Before us lies a field of possibilities,
Many colors to trace with our hands.”

So we walked the be-wildering way
And the sun hid its face behind the trees,
The shadows lengthened on the ground
And shelter was not found in these.

For you said,
“The rise will help us see beyond,”
And so we climbed

The rocky hills
Exhausted, breathless, out of time,
The vista vanishes, as horizons will.

For the wanderer,
The space between silences
Suddenly cracks a chasm:

The music of terrain and trail
Unbearably missing,
Made mute in the heavy emptiness
Who haunts the heart of her?

Nameless I will go alone
To the place
Where turtle shells are left behind,

Where the sun cries,
And the woods do not creep,
And wonder what on earth I’m doing there.

Would I turn back
From that raw heart-wrenching road?
Would I name the trees,
Sing to the silence,
Create a cacophony to fill the emptiness,
No longer wander?

For you said,
“The rugged in between
Is a good place to wait.”

But my shell-less self shivers
In shimmering sunset,
Falling now
The first drops of rain.

Fragile and frightened,
I force myself to stay awake,
While everywhere I am not empties out,

Envelops itself,
In the mist goes missing.
Hollow echoes heard where nothing stirs.
And that’s when the silence screams.

Navigation

Moon-spun moments disperse at daybreak
By day the sunsoaked landscape cries
Sighs a cacophony of endless voices
Boisterous streetsong, chatter of strangers

Arrange my day along a familiar route
Without a topography, the map obscures
Ensures that I will lose my way
If I stray from the journey, even slightly

Yet, nightly I travel roads unweary
Hearing the hush of darkness unfolded
Enfolded in the ebony behind closed eyes
I step lightly through

Moon-beam strewn stepping stones
Alone wander paths I’ve never taken
Then a whole world to explore
For there are memories to awaken

Aching to be known, whispered in landscapes
Grace in every motion, no need for seeing
Only being; until streams of dawn
Drawn across night’s sacred shelter

Melt the moonpath, its visions vanished
Banished in the dusk of dreaming

Still Life

The clearing beckons and you enter,
The butterflies between the trees flitting
Over the translucent stream below.

The momentary beauty captures your attention,
Stays your breathing, and you pause–
To reflect on a course of action,

Rummage in your backpack
No time to lose, your movements quick and frenzied,
Hoping you’ll find what you are looking for.

Triumphantly, you place an artificial lens
Between you and the scene before your eyes,
And try to focus

And frame an experience
As it shifts within its own rhythm,
Ever changing and alive.

Hurrying, you zoom in
On a view you just can’t miss.
Worrying over whether you are too close,

You get farther away for a better view.
And the shutter snaps open in a flash,
And the digital photograph

Pins the butterflies in their places
While the stream, in mid ripple,
Ever eludes to change.

With the moment safely captured ,
You can finally sit tranquilly,
Observing in silence.

But now, as you take in your surroundings,
You find nothing to stay your gaze
Save for the landscape in its subtle rearranging.

The bright screen displays your memory,
The one whose occurrence you never fully attended,
So feeling at a loss,

You remain exactly where you are,
Wondering at what you never took in,
And hoping for another opportunity.

In that instant I see you there,
Bordered by the portrait of the trees.
How strange for you to find

Frozen frames of living beautiful,
Moved by depictions of the no longer moving.
And if you’d turn your eyes on the water,

You’d notice how your own reflection
Resembles the appearance of a life stilled,
Impermanence just beneath the surface.

I am only passing through,
Noticing how everything happens to unfold.
Each experience changes with remembering,

No more defined within one image as I am,
Just as fleeting as the lives that create it,
And it is only when life ends that it is still.

Living In The Light

The fire in my bones
Sings without words
Lights each of my steps
Inside out, from beyond the stars

Shatters the darkness
Joy calls me home
In this turning world
I sing of a timeless space

Beyond all names
From which I’ve come
I’ve settled in
I live there now

How can I speak this powerful love
Humming to itself throughout all things
Calling, calling me on
I am leaping within the cords of life

I am seeing the unfolding of the skies
And the dreams taking shape before my eyes
I am weaving myself into life
I return to my address of nowhere

I have touched the boundless center of being
Seed sparks flung out from the core alight with wonder
breathlessly I live the awesome beauty
Now and now, the quiet acceptance taking place within me

I have new eyes, glinting, for I surrender
To the sea of uncertainty, having nothing to fear
Here I am, moved, excited to be moving
Through every day and night, take flight once more

Beyond all wrong and right
Beyond the need for doors
Burning through the rays of the divine
I burst into this moment, free and soaring

Every inch of me gleaming with an indescribable feeling
Such expansive belonging, an endless tide
Open and still, around me silence is glowing
And at peace with unknowing, here I reside

Break open and unfold

The seed sewn at the center
Waits to grow
Is always yours to hold.

As if dissolved in a cocoon,
I prepare to emerge changed
Into what I have always been.

My mind doesn’t know it yet,
And yet, I dream
Of unchecked skies and new found wings, I dream.

The metal box overflowing with my fears
Is too heavy to keep
Carrying on this journey,

So I’ll leave it on the bottom shelf
Behind the self help
Books promising “a better you.”

I am enough,
I scream at their winking gold titles.
Because even though I am

Cracked and chipped and damaged,
Dropped by accident too many times,
In turmoil with the mending of old wounds,

Still I take off again into the blue,
No longer meant to hide, or forced to crawl.
I tell the one who fights transforming at all:

Wordless love waits for whomever can
Commend themselves into the hands
Large enough to contain each

Of our sharp and jagged pieces.
Still enough,
To hold each imperfect moment, without comment.

None will hand me back such trying
Marked up red for correcting
Along with, “it would be better had you been done differently.”

So tomorrow, letting go, I’ll break down
The sealed doors to secret rooms
Behind which occupants bide their time, unwelcome.

Even if, to evict them I dissolve shaking
Into a dark shelter beyond
Which nothing is certain.

Hidden there are the keys for the freedom
To reign in my own home,
A butterfly monarch sustained by wildflowers.

Hidden there, myself unchanged.
And because there is nothing to do or be differently,
I’ll be wholly different from before.

I’ll remember what wings are, never forgetting who carries me,
The wind across this expansive, unsung sky,
And above the clouds, I’ll soar.

Caught In the Tides of Samhain

Every once and a while,
a longing …

An aching
in bone,

A sighing
Disturbing disquiet,

A howling low
Like wind,

Blowing through
Catches me sharply.

Displaced, disoriented,
The known feels so unfamiliar.

Silent emptiness, tightly contained,
Sifts through,

The outer shell,
too small.

Every once in a while,
reaching out
for you,

Isn’t enough,
Not face to face,
Speaking, no voices.

Passing by, passing through,
Each other

I am the other
Where space is crowded with your absence.

Every once and a while,
home beckons
a shining light,

And I long,
I ache for home,
For the solidness of knowing you.

For that time when we’ll be
Reunited, together,

Even though, around me
The great world unfolds, dazzling wonder,
And I love all of it.

Even though in the stillness you are
Here, I am not alone,
On this journey, still not the same.

Even though…
I long, something is missing,

Laughter and music,
Drying tears, simple gestures.

When you run to catch me flying,
I might never let you go.