Silence is Not an Absence


There is a silence

in the room.



A silence
settling the cup on the saucer.

A silence
in the dialogue of a shouting tv soap.

A silence.

In the outside traffic.
In the electric fan.
In each keyboard touch.
In pulsing fingers.
In every inflating breath.
In the blood slipping my veins.

A silence.

In these disconnected words.
In these tired eyes.

A silent underpinning of everything that is.
A silence which permits everything to be.

A silence
preparing to catch
all the noise of now

as it jumps
a hundred floors
into the street of the past.


22 thoughts on “Silence is Not an Absence

  1. Brian, wish this were true. I think I know what you mean: the absence of emotion/connection/participation or compamy of a kindred spirit ?
    Or is it for you the completion of the chord, the pause that makes it whole?
    When for me it is the ideal singluar component of any moment in my day. The one I hope for.
    But I have to physically defend myself against these [for some people unobtrusive literal sounds] ‘noises’, by using ear defenders, to stop my nerves from fraying.
    Sound to Noise, noisome ?
    An arresting topic for reflection.
    Sorry if I misinterpreted your intention.

      • You are lucky if for you that is the case. I can’t switch off noise. Not in my head nor in my ears. So this stillness is outside my perception and experience. An ideal that can never be attained.

      • On your last comment Aprille, it had me thinking of the religious experience (the silence) and how it is there for some and unseen by others, although I know the literal cacophony you speak of is very real and debilitating.

  2. I really love the ending two stanzas. I do find that silence (pure silence) can often be very loud, so it follows well that within the everyday clatter of life silence is present.

  3. I like the contrast of a silence with the everyday noises, including disconnected words ~

    Your last line said the past, but my mind was racing to an image of someone jumping down the hundred floors into a permanent silence (of death) ~ Now, reading your comments, I was way off,ha ~

  4. Brian, an incredible write. I love how its broad, then narrows into your pulse, then opens and then dives into the core in the last lines. Those last lines got me good!
    Amy jo

  5. Noise and Silence…it is the silence that is important to listen to, like the Higgs boson. It is the building foundation of everything. Noise is just a byproduct.

  6. Maybe there is nothing quite like the noise of the past to threaten the silence that otherwise is present in everything we do.
    A provocative piece you have written.

  7. A kind of silence has come for me so this is particularly poignant – my short term losses of hearing are giving way to long term inability to sort sounds. I hear them but can’t distinguish clearly – all is mixed and overrun with the tinnitus squeal that cancels out the clarity of meaning and music. I like this metaphor as it brings into focus the imagery of sound and its meaning in every life.

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