The Discovery of Silence




In the century of noise,

at a late age,

I discover silence,

swinging, like a scythe,

through the clangor.


Of course, I still hear

the ringing in my ears,

ghost waves from the cherry bomb

or perhaps passed on

from my father. Perhaps


the reverberation

of the Bofors guns bursting

in the tattered sky 

over Naples in 1943 or

the blood pounding 

as he pulled up after

diving 10,000 feet.


Or my ear drum might

be still vibrating from

the back beat on

“Johnny B. Goode”

late at night

on my bedside 

radio in 1958.


My phone beeps, alerting me

that something has happened

in Syria, someone’s dog

can sing “Over the Rainbow,”

the Braves’ bullpen has

collapsed again.


Everything is ringing,

ringing; everything has

a buzz. I discover

silence, the scythe,

leaving me wide-eyed,

breathing, listening

to my heart pump.