Saturday, January 8, 2011


sometimes (but not too often, it must be said)
there falls upon this house
a silence.
this house, which
is used to the constant sounds of occupation
the rise and fall of voices, their pitches wandering
all along the aural spectrum. sometimes sharp, irritated
sometimes gentle. often animated, often raised together
words slipping like agile otters in among the reeds of conversation
all tumbling together in a bright rush.

the sounds of life being lived.
machines performing their robot labour,
laundering clothes, washing dishes, cooking food,
the steady hum of the vaccuum. pleasure machines, too, sometimes,
the frenetic chatter of the television, the happy ping of the computers,
the peep-peep of the tiny devices, lifting their voices in song
the phones
the music players
the little games.
the toys that talk and buzz,
trains that race with whirring wheels around the plastic tracks
artificial pets that ape life, squeaking in unison
baby dolls inconsolable without their tiny pacifiers.

a cacophony of domesticity, this house
a perfect storm of sound

yet, sometimes, a moment of silence comes. oh, not at night
(the nights are often quiet, but it is the quiet of sleep, not of stillness)
no, sometimes a rare constellation of inclination and introspection will
halt every voice together
all at peace in one moment
a well of silence, that opens up
still and shining and dark

a mother breastfeeding a toddler, her head slightly bowed, thinking of nothing
an almost-baby intent on milk and closeness, noiseless and voiceless
a 7-year-old reading, lying on her stomach, absorbed in her book
a father dozing on the couch, his eyes almost closed
a 5-year-old dreaming dreams and seeing visions, gazing at the future on her tiny Pooh Bear couch

no mechanical slaves about their appointed tasks
no music
nothing but silence
utterly peaceful and companionable
wrapping around the house like a bolt of silk
and all the more so
for its rarity.

- Kathy, 8/1/11

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