Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Sounds of Silence

The Communion of Silence

Silence, with sails double reefed,
Creeps into shoal water.

A hand touches another.
Two heads turn.
One winks.
The other smiles.

Silence, with all sails rigged,
Beats out of shoal water.

A glance points homeward;
A hand spins the wheel.

Later, the sea, in ungentle waves,
Tries to beguile them.

Neither notice.

Carl Potter


It's National Poetry Month, April. For several years now, our small town library has hosted a workshop with a University of Vermont professor/poet who lives in town. I joined the group this year. Carl, one of my writing buddies, also joined and shared this poem with the group. He has a very romantic sensibility.

He was nice enough to let me post his poem here. I had been thinking about my experience with the sounds of silence and now I have the little push I needed to sit down and write about it.


Mike and I have had been fortunate in our opportunities to travel around various parts of the United States, and we have had some great trips. I think, though, our one trip out of the country has to be my favorite. We spent July, 2003, touring New Zealand, mostly the South Island. I can't even come up with words for how spectacular the whole place was, even in wintertime. We were constantly picking our chins up off the ground. A month is not enough time to spend there.

We had a couple of day trips in Fiordland National Park. Fiordland is mostly wilderness and all but impenetrable--mountain peaks and fiords carved by glaciers, thick rainforest vegetation. Milford Sound is about the only fiord accessible by car, but we had to re-schedule plans because they first time we tried to get there, the road had been closed by avalanche.

We went to Doubtful Sound, further to the south. Getting there involved getting a boat ride across a large lake and then a bus ride over a forbidding mountain pass. We then got on another, larger boat to cruise down the sound. Before turning the boat around for the trip back to the wharf, the captain stopped and turned off the boat's engine. He urged the group (maybe twenty of us altogether) to listen to the sounds of silence in this unspoiled and remote wilderness. It has to be the most peaceful spot on earth.

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