Welcome to the One Page Poetry Circle at St. Agnes Branch Library!

Date: Tuesday, April 18
Time: 5:30 – 6:30 pm
Place: St. Agnes Branch Library, 444 Amsterdam Ave.
3rd Fl.
Poetry and Silence

Find a poem! Show up! Read a poem! Discuss a poem!

April’s theme is Poetry and Silence. Feel free to interpret the theme in a way that has meaning for you. We hope you will find a poem you haven’t read before or see an old friend in a new light. Can’t locate a poem you like? Look through a poetry book at the library or check out Poetry Foundation or poets.org.

Silence would seem inimical to poetry, but it is as important as words. Poems use silence, the cessation of words, to create meaning. “Silence” is the last word that Hamlet speaks (Shakespeare’s Hamlet 5.2). The moment contains irony in that the last thing Hamlet says means “nothing” but follows much mental and physical turmoil. Sadly, his voice will be silenced forever—or at least until we read the play again.

The potent poison quite o’ercrows my spirit.
I cannot live to hear the news from England.
But I do prophesy the election lights
On Fortinbras. He has my dying voice.
So tell him, with th’ occurrents, more and less,
Which have solicited. The rest is silence.

In Yvor Winters’ “Before Disaster,” the rhyming couplets tick-tock, lull, increase speed, and then halt, creating a silence where readers can reflect before moving on.

Evening traffic homeward burns,
Swift and even on the turns,
Drifting weight in triple rows,
Fixed relation and repose.
This one edges out and by,
Inch by inch with steady eye.
But should error be increased,
Mass and moment are released;
Matter loosens, flooding blind,
Levels driver to its kind….
Ranks of nations thus descend,
Watchful to a story end.
By a moment’s calm beguiled,
I have got a wife and child.

Simon and Garfunkel’s song, “The Sound of Silence” begins by evoking a mood:

Hello darkness, my old friend
I’ve come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence

What other forms of silence have you found in poetry?

We’d love to blog with you here at onepagepoetrycircle.wordpress.com about Poetry and Silence or any other subject that pertains to poetry.

~Abigail Burnham Bloom and AnnaLee Wilson