Silence and memories poetry (February 2020)

Susan’s Thursday morning Note February 27, 2020
Poetry on silence and memories.

Good morning.  It’s actually light as I type, a small token of hope from the heavens that spring is almost ready to wake up and show herself to us again.  Clicking of my fingers my only sound.  Steam from my coffee the only movement besides my fingers.  A few little birds arriving early to greet with their songs before they realize spring is not here yet and go back into hiding.  Another day.  Another day in our song called life.  Prairie Schooner sits next to me.  Fall 2006.  This is a quarterly publication from the University of Nebraska Press with various poetry and short writings.  Two captured my thoughts and I know will be in my mind always now.  Lines I’ll highlight that I had never thought of before and now will always think of because this author sat and wrote her thoughts for us.  Her gift.  Words.  Triggering my desire for her wish in the first, and my love of her insight into memories in the second.

The Gift by Chana Bloch
He tied a red ribbon around my wrist.
Close your eyes.
Make a wish.
Don’t tell.
And he tied three knots.

Every table in that café gave off
a particular clamor.
around us the racket
of spoons, forks, human lives.
Inside me a scraping –
dry, metallic.

I made a wish in the privacy
of my closed eyelids, believing,
since the ribbon required it.
From that moment the wish took breath
though it had no voice.

I moved among people and kept
repeating it to myself.
What’s that ribbon for? They asked,
but I was so dutiful,
so desperate, I mean –
I was the only one I told.

What he gave me
was the power of speech
unspoken, urgent, beating
at the walls of the mind like a cricket
throbbing in a fist –

The gift was silence; the ribbon
only a show of red on my wrist
that shriveled to a knotted string.
two and a half years
that ribbon kept waking me.
And the wish grew more hungry
as I fed it, in secret,
one silence at a time.

Trespass by Trana Bloch
The man at that table, studying the menu,
looks like someone I loved
when I first started loving.
He’s not the one, but he’ll do.
I’m playing a god’s game with him: to see
and not be seen.

How solemn we were with our rickety
Bricks and boards,
Every doorpost marked with virgin blood
For the First Time
Ever.  Oh how we loved
To swear We will always remember.

Forgetting is the most cunning of locks
but it’s only a lock.  Tonight that man
without knowing it
handed me a master key.  I open the past
with practiced fingers,
helping myself to whatever I please.

There’s a boundary between strangers
like the green line on a map.  Along the border,
checkpoints:  Stop!  Hand over your papers!
But now there’s no stopping.
I’m nervy, elated – as if
I’d sneaked past while the guard was sleeping
and plundered a time zone.

The stranger has his own stew to contend with.
He hasn’t seen me.  We won’t even nod.
How could he know that this time
I have come to take possession?

I love the line of opening the past, …helping myself to whatever I please.  What I love about reading is finding a thought that I would have loved to have thought of myself, but a new friend formulated the thought for me.  Plundered a time zone.  Love that so much.  …handed me a master key.  Just loved that too.   I was the only one I told.  Loved that…the wish took breath though it had no voice…I fed it, in secret, one silence at a time.  Beautiful.  Thank you for letting me enter your Thursday morning.  I hope you found lines in this beautiful poetry that you take with you as you hear silence.  As you open your own doors to memories of your choice.  Thank you for being in my life, for letting me think and write for you.  Have a beautiful end of the long month of February.  Spring buds are underground warming up for their entrance onto the stage.  Susan

Mother Teresa on silence:  We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness.  God is the friend of silence.  See how nature – trees, flowers, grass – grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence…We need silence to be able to touch souls.

 Helen Keller on memory:  So long as the memory of certain beloved friends lives in my heart, I shall say that life is good.


silentium, silentio – silence
silentium est aureum – silence is golden
memoria – memory, to be mindful
memoratus in aeternum – forever remembered

Works Cited:
Bloch, Chana.  “The Gift.”  “Trespass.”  Prairie SchoonerUniversity of NE Press, Fall 2006. 82-84. Print.