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By Newton Smith
Who knew when we began our walk
down the streets of this old town
what sounds and small talk
we’d hear as we strolled around?
At first it was noise, mostly random--
a radio playing, a truck’s rumble,
a distant banging like a drum,
a bird song, and somewhere a horn.
Then as if composed and played on cue
each sound found its pitch and place
in a musical structure totally new
where dissonance and harmony played their part.
Soon, as our listening became refined
we heard within each note another tune,
and heard the silent spaces unwind
more to hear and more silence too.
Now we enter this empty space
meant for quiet, stillness and the dark.
Here names and words have no place.
Egos are emptied like water from a vase.
Beneath our breathing we begin to hear
an inner sound, a background constant
like when we hold a shell up to our ear
and listen to waves whisper from the shore.
What we hear is empty sound
where all that is has it source.
What we hear can’t be rewound
like recordings to be played again.
We give sounds names as they run away
and hope the words will stop their flight,
but all we do is make what we say
a substitute for what will not come back.
Let us then listen to the inner hum
and stop these words and their charade.
Let us listen again to the rhythm
of stillness, emptiness and silence.