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Thursday, 8 December 2016

The Hour of Three Sounds


Time for poetry, when the quiet presses in

against the sides of your head,

like hands trying to muffle what the trees say secret

 to each other in the night.

 

The leaves of the cherry blossoms sound like

green water cascading over stone.

There are three sounds, then:

the whining, the whispering and the pig-headed silence.

 

Sometimes, you sleep through it:

the hour of the three sounds.

 

Oh, I wish I could hear them! I wish I could hear

all the people breathing their washboard sighs into the quiet.

I wish I could visit them, smooth their rumpled bed-covers,

grease their dry, cracked lips.

 

I wish I were a mother-god, to watch them all as they slept.

I would plump the white pillows of the fretful,

and sit and watch the dying as they called for someone

to turn on a light globe already burning.

 

I would quietly slip away from true lovers,

and take a step between those who were cruel

in their wanting, in their not-wanting.

And I would sit for a while with the sleepless…

 

wait for a while until the silence passed

like a black-winged angel of death.

I would sit with the hopeless, brushed in the quiet hours

by the tip of that terrible passing wing.

 

 

Sleeping Muse, Constantin Brancusi, 1909
 
 

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