Listening to the Sound of Silence

A C Clarke

It’s getting dark again (Miriam Nash)

Those early days silence resolved itself

into a playlist of forgotten tunes

so that the tap of a hammer on sheet-metal

the scrape of a bin across uneven ground, the sudden

trill of a bird, startled then reassured. Buried

under the city’s loud discordance these small signals –

here I am, hear what I am – went unheard, or rather

could not be heard as themselves. For a brief time

it was as if someone had rediscovered

a heap of fading scores hidden for years

in a second-hand piano stool,

set the notes free to sing. We, an audience jaded

by information overload assailing

eyes, fingers, tongue, nose, ears, were quieted

by the simplicity of singleness. Now the world’s noise 

has started again. I listen to thumps and shakes

piledriving futures into old foundations. A siren

lifts its wail above the hum of work

resumed. Tonight the clocks go back.

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