Poetry Challenge 10

Silence.

Stop what you are doing and listen. How silent is it, really? What is the most silent place you’ve ever been? How did it sound? Or write about the silence that occurs at odd moments in the day–between tasks, between places, between people. Sit in silence as you write and find the words that rise up there.

——————————————

Here’s a response from Glow at Beyond Ester:

the persimmon cat purred in his sleep
purred as he groomed himself
purred as his brother bit his neck
purred watching birds flit
purred while being brushed
purred while being stalked
purred while laying with dogs
purred at the vet’s office.

he purred on the couch
he purred on the bed
he purred on the table
he purred on the desk
he purred on the rug
he purred in the litter box.

the persimmon cat purred always.

October
when the persimmons for which he was named
thudded to the ground,
he replaced his purr with a yowl
a catawauling wail
a screeching hollar
a piercing scream.

on the way to the vet
in the car
for several minutes
the purr overtook the yowls
then the purr stopped.

now, silence in our house.
and a maple box inscribed
Persimmon: Purring Forever.

—————————

And another from Glow (hmmm…must be a good prompt)

late Saturday night
frantic knock
the neighbor shirtless shoeless in January
my house is on fire, he said.

we hurried
but there was nothing to be done
firemen bustled to no avail
water cast again and again

I expected brightness cast against trees
giant whooshing sounds
a cacophony of cracks and crashes
but flames are surprisingly dark
fire surprisingly silent
the heat gobbled up sound
sucked noise like air
seized and smothered talk
only soundless smoke
wordless ash
molten bits of house
dribbled among us
nothing for us to do
but watch in our newfound deafness

————————–

My response:

Potatoes
chopped in cubes
pale yellow, dropped
into broth. It bubbles,
the wood stove ticks,
small motors that smooth
our passage through the day
hum, though it’s now night.

In this noisy silence,
the dog’s faint snore,
a tulip petal falls
from its thin yellowing
stem, from the blue vase,
I hear words said
yesterday or before
and you, in bitter
cold dark, driving,
driving up the hill
with milk.

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10 Responses to “Poetry Challenge 10”

  1. Glow Says:

    the persimmon cat purred in his sleep
    purred as he groomed himself
    purred as his brother bit his neck
    purred watching birds flit
    purred while being brushed
    purred while being stalked
    purred while laying with dogs
    purred at the vet’s office.

    he purred on the couch
    he purred on the bed
    he purred on the table
    he purred on the desk
    he purred on the rug
    he purred in the litter box.

    the persimmon cat purred always.

    October
    when the persimmons for which he was named
    thudded to the ground,
    he replaced his purr with a yowl
    a catawauling wail
    a screeching hollar
    a piercing scream.

    on the way to the vet
    in the car
    for several minutes
    the purr overtook the yowls
    then the purr stopped.

    now, silence in our house.
    and a maple box inscribed
    Persimmon: Purring Forever.

  2. mattiespillow Says:

    Thanks, Glow. I still miss my kitty, too. I’ll post this.

    Hope you’re staying warm. We seem to be missing most of the wind here in our little bend in the Ridge.

  3. Glow Says:

    We just had an earthquake that cracked some of the logs in the house. Twas a scary moment! And I’m here alone tonight, so I wasn’t even sure what was happening was really happening! Did you feel anything?

  4. mattiespillow Says:

    Heard on the news this morning that it was 4.5, centered to the east of here. Hope your logs are not badly cracked. I usually feel earthquakes, but missed this one.

  5. Glow Says:

    Love your potato boiling poem! Mind if I post another poem?

  6. Glow Says:

    late Saturday night
    frantic knock
    the neighbor shirtless shoeless in January
    my house is on fire, he said.

    we hurried
    but there was nothing to be done
    firemen bustled to no avail
    water cast again and again

    I expected brightness cast against trees
    giant whooshing sounds
    a cacophony of cracks and crashes
    but flames are surprisingly dark
    fire surprisingly silent
    the heat gobbled up sound
    sucked noise like air
    seized and smothered talk
    only soundless smoke
    wordless ash
    molten bits of house
    dribbled among us
    nothing for us to do
    but watch in our newfound deafness

  7. mattiespillow Says:

    Thanks, Glow. I remember watching a cabin burn and remember the subdued quality of it all. You say it well.

  8. Glow Says:

    Your potato boiling poem is my very favorite of all the stuff I have read by you. I would love to have it written out in handwriting. Would that be possible?

  9. mattiespillow Says:

    Possible–but I’ll have to find someone with good handwriting!

  10. Glow Says:

    MP, did you read about this? http://newsminer.com/news/2009/mar/23/poet-sylvia-plaths-son-prominent-fairbanks-biologi/
    Seems that suicide is a profound kind of silence.

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