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Poetry Musings

Tom Absher

Poets tend to need quiet for their work. I am certainly one such. In fact, as I get older, the more
I become a committed devotee of silence - I consider it part of my creative medium.  For me,
listening to silence has, more broadly, become part of my way of life.  Sometimes I hear words,
images for poems, sometimes I just imagine what I hear.  This poem is probably a mixture of
both kinds of hearing.


Plainsong

It is when I am quiet I know
I exist. So I seek out quiet, its locales,
its gentle aura, the halting embrace,
and I am drawn to what I imagine lives
deep inside quiet, namely music,
a secret music.

Lying on the grass in the field
beyond our house, I become a deep sea diver
imagining I am drifting down into the summer
world of all that green, passing through
its layers of distraction - the crowded city
spires of the many grasses, their colorful flags,
the ever questing traffic of insects,
and I am part of the silence down there,
a visitor stepping into a majestic
cathedral of green.

Being quiet long enough I begin to hear
molecules chanting their music
inside the stem of a thistle, spherical notes
rising and falling in ancient earthen
ecclesiastical tongues - and then
a single molecule, falsetto, chanting alone
offers its solo part of the oratory
the choir of molecules and atoms sing
all summer long, the very music
which keeps the thistle being thistle.




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