Thoughts on silence…

Today, Björn of dVerse Poets has set the challenge of considering how poetry expresses silence in its own unique way. He got me thinking about a short story I read in my German class at school when I was sixteen. It was by Heinrich Böll and it was called Dr.  Murkes Gesammeltes Schweigen (Dr Murke’s Collected Silences). In it, a man records people speaking, then later cuts out and collects all the little silences between utterances to listen to later. I remember being mesmerised by the concept.

In my poem, Saturation, a young woman searches for the comforting silences of familiar childhood relationships, only to find that they’ve been ‘soaked up’, misappropriated, never to be heard again. Make of it what you will…



Where should I go
to find the silence
of back then
when Papa was still here?
Before I stopped believing
rain was angel tears?

Where’s the sound of snowfall
on distant mountains, of dew
settling on grass
like a flitting firefly,
while I still sleep?
Where’s the silent sound?

Why can’t I hear his silence
now that he’s gone, beyond
the place of whisperings?

I only hear
the noisy space
between his silence
and yours,
and I’m deaf with it.

Mama, I know
where the silence went
when Papa left.
He didn’t take it with him.
I see it when you look at me.
It’s right there,
in your sponge-like eyes.


10 thoughts on “Thoughts on silence…

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