nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

sounds in the silence #1

with 6 comments


If niche has colour, it also has sound.  Some of those sounds are soothing, the sound of a babbling brook, or the wind in the Red Pine.  Some sounds are alarming, the cry of a child, or the squeal of brakes.  At my office, there are multiple sounds in the background – people talking, computers whirring, copiers copying, printers printing.  When there is a power outage, I am amazed at the silence of the building, and wonder how I can possibly work with all the noise.

When I can’t sleep, I turn to a trick my Mom taught me  – I count the sounds in the sleeping house.  Last week, a welcome sound was added to the usual repertoire, the three part hoot of a Great Horned Owl.  Hoo-Hoo-Hoo   Hoo-o  Hoo-o.   It was a gentle but penetrating sound and it ruled the night.  The owl hooted three times at about five minute intervals and then I fell asleep.

Not long ago I went for a walk in the grey woods and heard a sound I have heard so often before, the grating squeal of two trees rubbing together.  These trees, a Balsam Fir and a Grey Birch, have tried to grow into the same space and now they reproach one another in an endless competition.

the branches of one tree grate against the bark of the other

 

fear of heights

~

as dizzying to look up

in the forest

as down

into the abyss

the trees taper so

~

they lean

birch

against fir

rubbed raw

where branches touch

and reach for one another

~

and sudden, wrenching sounds

a branch swings back or breaks

loosened by a squirrel

or burdened where crows complain

~

or where a warbler scolds

teacher teacher teacher

~

© Jane Tims 1996

Written by jane tims

October 2, 2011 at 9:20 am

6 Responses

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  1. Your poem hit it on the nail. It is exactly how you described while I walk in our woods here.

    When there is a power outage, I am amazed at the silence of the building, and wonder how I can possibly work with all the noise. I find, that during power outages, sometimes the silence is louder than the background noise you become accustomed to.

    -Denis

    Like

    JD

    October 10, 2011 at 9:30 am

    • Hi. They used to have something called ‘white noise’ in office buildings so employees could work better. Jane

      Like

      jane tims

      October 10, 2011 at 6:10 pm

  2. “as dizzying to look up” I felt that sensation in New York City, standing on the street looking up at the skyscrapers – they seemed to be swaying and it made me very dizzy.

    I like how you described ‘the grating squeal of two trees rubbing together, growing into the same space and reproaching one another in an endless competition.’

    Like

    Barbara Rodgers

    October 3, 2011 at 5:03 pm

    • Hi. I appreciate the comment… it’s good to ‘see’ my words from another point of view. Jane

      Like

      jane tims

      October 3, 2011 at 8:52 pm

  3. I was just wondering to myself the other day…if Jane was going to write a new blog about butterflies (and covered bridges, to be honest). I had quite a few Monarchs? in my gardens last week. Now I wonder if they were Monarchs!

    Like

    bizm

    October 2, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    • Hi. There’ll be more about butterflies in future. I was in Ontario this week and saw lots of Monarchs (which I can now identify) and yellow butterflies (next on my list to learn!) Stay tuned…. Jane

      Like

      jane tims

      October 3, 2011 at 8:47 pm


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