Ode to Silence

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Athar C. Pavis

Ode to Silence


        for H.

      Here’s to the silence of unspoken word,
      The heart held in abeyance, like a clam,
      Shut tight against indifference, but still heard
      By men who give these nameless things a name—

      Who never watch reality TV,
      Nor rush to reconnect at Wi-Fi stations,
      Who apprehend implicits, and that we
      Lose them, in our relationship discussions.

      Here’s to the wordless hurts that do not whine,
      Begging for recognition, and remain
      Silent, as pulp psychologists opine
      Better for mental health that they complain.

      Here’s to the silence before SMS,
      Instant translator of our ups and downs,
      Became the inner life we could express
      Cheaply; before emoticons, like clowns

      Pulled a long face, exaggerated smile,
      To summarize the soul. This age of noise,
      “You should have had the balls to speak,” this style
      Everyone shares, this feelingness that cloys,

      Like squeezing a banana in your fist—
      This is the Age of Treacle, someone said,
      And Facebook gripes. How has self come to this—
      As if these tell-all postings, half-unread,

      Were proof of being? Let silence reign
      In the unspeakable chasm they perceive,
      Mothers whose only gift from life is pain,
      Prodigal sons, lovers who cannot grieve—

      Here’s to the gated silence in the pause
      Poets can hear, while glib men only post,
      What Beckett found in wordlessness, because
      Saying nothing sometimes says the most.