New poem, “Silence Waits”


There, in the snow, waits silence,
truth wide open and aware,
that the world is not all noise,
shattering, full of despair.
In the clear whiteness I hear it,
all hope is not lost, or useless –
one day, no matter the harm we do,
this world will return to quiet,
when our voices speak no more.


I was inspired to write this poem after a recent winter storm here in my area of upstate New York. All evening long (and during the day before) my phone buzzed with alerts from The Weather Channel app warning of the possible hazards to come. Ice, sleet and varying amounts of snow were expected, alternating in batches, and travel advisories were grim. Fortunately I was off work that day, and prepared to stay inside and wait for the events to begin.

As is often the case, the warnings were overstated, which I am grateful about. I’m a big believer in hoping for the best but planning for the worst, so I do appreciate their good intentions.

But I realized, too, that all the alerts, coming one after another on the phone, really put me on edge, made me more worried and nervous than I probably needed to be. It is winter in the northeast after all, and anyone who expects it to be a walk in the park really shouldn’t be living here. I’ve come to expect the unexpected after close to 25 winters, and learned long ago to take some precautions.

The next morning, I shoveled the deck and went to fill up my bird feeders. They had been coming throughout the storm, and barely a seed was left.

The freshness of the snow, so white and pristine in the sunshine, cleared the fearful cobwebs in my head. Once again I thought of all the sound and fury we humans make in the world, in our efforts to try and control it, and of how nature has her torrid moments then just goes right back to living. No muss, no fuss, over and done. We are the ones that rage against it, sometimes for the good, yes, but often for very little results.

There is a beautiful monologue I love given by Alicia Vikander’s character in the movie, The Green Knight, about how one day the world will return to green again, someday when humans are gone. I think about that speech a lot, and it came to mind again seeing all the new snow. Instead, yes, everything was white; but it’s another small reminder of how powerful nature is, and that it’s always worthy of our respect, which is often best expressed quietly to ourselves.