Wednesday, September 10, 2008

To Remind Myself

Tomorrow, on Sept. 11, you may observe a moment of silence. But I'm starting today because...well, I need it.

After several particularly loud weeks in our nation's continued struggle to define itself politically, I'm craving respectful silence so badly that I'm (silently) screaming.

If you need a dose of silence--and I don't mean apathy or indifference or deception or unvoiced anger or ignorance--- here are a few places to start:

A Beautiful Day for Silence (ShelfTalker at Publishers Weekly)

Simon and Garfunkle's Sound of Silence

Who would've thought Wikipedia had so much to say about silence?

And finally, Wendell Berry's poem How to Be a Poet, which is subtitled "to remind myself"

It begins:

Make a place to sit down.
Sit down. Be quiet.
You must depend upon
affection, reading, knowledge,
skill—more of each
than you have—inspiration,
work, growing older, patience,
for patience joins time
to eternity. Any readers
who like your poems,
doubt their judgment.
The rest is here.


  1. What a beautiful poem and post.

    "Accept what comes from silence."


  2. I will plan on some silence today. Tomorrow, I'll be substitute teaching - not a great place to find silence.

    Thanks for the reminder...

  3. Here's another one that really matters to me a lot, and is about silence, I think:

    "Being a Person" by William Stafford

    Be a person here. Stand by the river, invoke
    the owls. Invoke winter, then spring.
    Let any season that wants to come here make its own
    call. After that sound goes away, wait.

    A slow bubble rises through the earth
    and begins to include sky, stars, all space,
    even the outracing, expanding thought.
    Come back and hear the little sound again.

    Suddenly this dream you are having matches
    everyone's dream, and the result is the world.
    If a different call came there wouldn't be any
    world, or you, or the river, or the owls calling.

    How you stand here is important. How you
    listen for the next things to happen. How you breathe.

  4. Thank you, Liz. I needed that.

  5. I needed this today, too.

    Once, Andrew Wyeth, when talking about his paintings, said: "I think anything like that, which is contemplative, silent, shows a person alone, people always feel is sad. Is it because we've lost the art of being alone?"

    In this day and age? Yes, I think we have.

    Both poems are great (thanks, Liz), but that Wendell Berry

  6. Thanks to you, your husband and your family for your husband's loyal devotion to our great country, and for his strength, courage and love. God Bless America on this silent day.


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