narrative silence

In the spirit of John Cage’s Purposeful Purposelessness, for some random time I’m allowing room for silence—raindrops.


Narrative Silence

cardboard  riff(ed)

 snow chimes, a chickadee tsiiks for seed


a pencil scratches paper

in the night the house knocks at the door

“Ruined fingers, why he can’t play the stand-up bass                               anymore.”

dry grass chattering

an onion, the sound of a tear

the roof avalanches heavy boot steps

the sewing machine chugs, the sun inches across the sky

a barred bird, squeaky bearings

this house that is a stranger to me cracks time

aphatos, |əˈfāZHə|, speechless

those moths dancing in the lamp light are my words.

you hear me?

“go into your closet to pray”

I remember the sound of a raven’s wing in a place where even wind was a stranger

“that’s the floor shaking with laughter”

 the wood stove ticks a lover’s slow tango

aphatos, a-phanai

“Having a place means that you know what a place means. . .”

he sleeps while snow blankets the window. . .

and that was all the rain there was

the waitress slips one polished glass over the other, tiny bells in the wind

pots and pans and garlic

“je ne suis qu’un petit bruit .”
I am but a small noise.

bluebird arrives with spring

Madeleine Peyroux sings, “The things I’ve seen. . .” 

and you, wild as wind

this morning I woke to a robin’s song

windows rattling in their casings. smells of cold.

the clock ticks through a dark night

a grain of sand arrived on the wind. I hear the desert calling. . .

the smallest of birds calls out the silence


mind, mind, mind, mind, mind 

the yellow stillness before a thunderstorm

watering boiling on the stovetop, then not

Cage’s pin drop, then not, pot, water drops, tape reels

But what about the noise of crumpling paper . . . .


©Susan Austin, all rights reserved

“Having a place means that you know what a place means. . .” quoted from Gary Snyder

“je ne suis qu’un petit bruit,” from Tristan Tzara

“The things I’ve seen. . .” by Madeleine Peyroux

“But What About the Noise of Crumpling Paper Which He Used to Do in Order to Paint the Series of ‘Papiers Froissés’ or Tearing Up Paper to Make ‘Papiers Déchirés’? Arp Was Stimulated by Water (Sea, Lake and Flowing Waters Like Rivers), Forests” by John Cage

12 thoughts on “narrative silence

  1. Your prose is so rich in imagery, and for a narrative of silence an intriguing delight to the ear. It’s difficult to render sound into words which capture it’s essence… i have really enjoyed reading.

  2. Dear Sue, I am so happy to learn about your blog and will look forward to reading past and future posts.
    Congratulations on bringing your beautiful gift for language into the world. Love, Lyn

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