Poem – Silence by Janet Killeen

At first the absence of sound:
The traffic’s drone and snarl,
Raised voices, hammering feet,
Demand, response, urgent, angered.
The shouted intimacies of lives.
And after, quietness
Falls weighted like an embroidered cloth
Sealing itself in stillness. Then silence
Sounds the breadth and length
Of space within, that inward amphitheatre
Of memoried landscapes:
Sky and air, hills, a moor, a beach, a forest walk,
Streams of clear water.

Then, gently, silence shares its secrets.
The hush of water in the wake of swans.
Blossom, loosed and falling.
The drift of wind in slender branches and crisp reeds.
Birdsong, and the practised ear distinguishes
Out of confusion, clarity.
Repeated tone and cadence, ripples of sound
That quench an unrealised thirst,
A precious expectancy
Between each note, enabling
A sharpened eagerness to hear.

– Janet Killeen