Sunday, November 18, 2012

CDV - Idle Thoughts on Silence

Sunday Scribblings has the prompt 'Silence'.
This lead to a  few idle thoughts on the subject.

Idle Thoughts on Silence


I am sitting, listening,

I can hear the hum of the computer, 
The ticking of the clock; yes, my clock ticks; and chimes.
Some rooms away I hear the drama of a TV show unfolding, 
Dramatic chords, screams, a bad day for someone.
A car passes up the street.  Sounds fast.  Too fast.
I can, if I try, hear my own breathing.

Silence is not easy to come by.


People are afraid of silence.

They fill their world with noise,
Their ears and lives are wired for sound.
Cars throb as they pass, whoomp, whoomp, whoomp.
Sound, I hesitate to call it music, is in lifts, foyers, buses, supermarkets.
Time is space is money.  Turn it on, fill it up.
The TVs get switched on first thing, turned off last.
Babysitter, companion and anaesthetic. 

What are they afraid of?
What are they afraid may creep into the void
If it is left empty, unguarded?

Vacant possession.


Silence, the song tells us, is golden.  
But is it?

Well, that depends, doesn’t it?
Silence can be delightful, lying on the grass, sitting in the garden,
Walking through the countryside with nothing but the chirp and whirr of nature 
Happening around you, everywhere.  Ah, yes, that is precious.

But being silent?  
Being silent when you know something evil is happening.
Forgive me for I have sinned.  The silence of the confessional.  
To know evil has occurred and to do nothing:
A sin compounded.

© J Cosmo Newbery 2012

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  1. You were really inspired by the prompt. I loved the last one when you put forward the message to break silence when evil happens before us. Very well done !!!

  2. I like the two sides of the coin presented in these thoughts..golden silence is golden..

  3. So many truths in your poem. Some days all I want is a few moments of silence and when I find it, I miss the noise!

  4. Hello J. Cosmo ---I haven't been blogging much so haven't visited you lately. I've always love your writing (especially your clever limericks.)

    I loved all 3 of these but especially number II. When I was deciding what to write in response to this prompt I, too, was thinking that I almost never experience silence. The last time I remember it was when the power went off for no apparent reason. (If it had gone off in a storm, I would have heard the storm.) Such complete silence, not even a refrigerator or computer hum, was delightful and eerie at the same time.

    My response to the SILENCE prompt can be found here:

  5. I really enjoyed the layout of this poem - it adds an interesting dimension to your thoughts on silence - a commodity very hard to come by in my world.

  6. You have given a multi-dimensional view of silence, JC. You have explored it from different perspectives that make the reader think.

  7. Love the silent staff paper and your message(s).

  8. love the multifaceted approach to the prompt, and the sensibility of the poem. John Cage is smiling benign approval somewhere.

  9. Beautifully written, and with a message...

  10. Very thought-provoking views of silence. I am always boggled at how much noise humans make, and seem to require, to know they're alive. I especially love your lines about the sounds of nature. Your final stanza speaks of a very different kind of silence. Really intriguing work.

  11. I loved this! There are times when I crave silence but it is so hard to come by. And the sound everywhere, I loved how you said you couldn't call it music. I too wonder why people are so afraid of silence. Sometimes I think they are afraid to think, to hear their true thoughts, but why? Are they afraid of the ugly thoughts, the hard thoughts? And then the ending... I wasn't expecting that so I felt it like a punch. But you're right, there are times when remaining silent is a way of allowing evil... Well done. Your poem has evoked many more conversations.

  12. Each part of this is excellent! Because I work in an office with constantly ringing phones, I love the sound of silence in my home, disturbed only by the purring of cats and the soft clicking of my keyboard. I have often wondered, just as you note, what is it about silence that people do so fear?

  13. I love how you examined all the aspects of silence including the negative. Well done.

  14. I have to agree on all points. I love quiet - well, as quiet as I can find. I love a ticking clock; hate the TV on before 6pm; treasure the very early morning in the garden when it's just me and the birds. I find it strange that people have to walk along with their ears plugged into machines.
    I also found Archbishop Pell's griping that the church had been smeared by the media quite disgusting. Especially when they knowingly shuffled offenders off to a different diocese when they were found out. I'm sure giving pedophiles a few 'Hail Mary's' and wiping their sins so they can start again the next day is not what Christ had in mind for his followers.
    I think when this is properly investigated the problem is going to be very much bigger than anybody imagined.

  15. This is wonderful post. For the most part I agree entirely as noise tends to be subversive and intrusive however dead silence is quite frightening. You really need some sign of life even if it is just to say "the kids are quiet what are they up to?"

  16. I loved all of it...
    I agree silence can be unnerving - especially complete silence.. silence like what we heard while at night in Death Valley when we visited there was awe inspiring in little doses..
    And part 2 of your wonderful post reminded me of this line from Cutting for Stone by Abraham Varghese -
    'Rosina took silence as a personal offense, and spoke into empty rooms and chattered into cupboards.'
    Am following you now..

  17. I love silence! I craved it at lunch time today...I was with a mob of others who all wanted to talk over each other! Ahhh...for the sounds of silence! ;)

    Your thoughts may have been silent, Cosmo...but they certainly weren't idle! :)

  18. Hello silence, my old friend...

  19. Cos, you virtually inspected every corner, every aspect of silence. The golden to the profane - inaction in the face of injustice. This starts out quietly and ends with a bang. Very strong writing.

    PS My silence is NEVER. I have tinnitus, poss. a "gift" from the many mental health meds I take, but it's beautiful music to me, so my silence is always a symphony. Peace, Amy

  20. I agree - silence is so hard to find in our modern world. Yet it is so necessary.

  21. Some observant thoughts there - silence really is a two sided coin!

  22. I often sit in the silence of my living room (as silent as nature will permit), but that is simply lack of external noise traipsing along eardrums and making room for internal noise. That may be why we often prefer noise--rather than be alone with our own thoughts.

    III. -- had a nice strong message; silence can definitely be a dangerous thing.

  23. Bear is going silent now. It's called hibernation, the winter wont of Ursine creatures.

    See you in the spring. Or, in Oz, the fall.

  24. Beautiful. The last one, where you put hearing silence up against being silent is insightful.
    I live in a place where at night, unless there's a storm going on, I can go out on my deck and hear - nothing. Tonight is one of those nights, I just checked.

  25. Very nice work! You've shown the many sides of silence as well as the lack thereof. I often think people dislike silence because they might have to contemplate things they don't want to face.

  26. My dear Mr N,
    Your are right there is no silence, I guess that is why it is golden when you have it.Like a night in the dessert under the stars,no city lights, a sleeping bag great company...magic.

    The reference to a certain church and it's silence was not missed!

  27. Silence has its good and bad aspects. Great poem though.


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