inertia1

Silence

A golden light falls through the spring trees, 
trees elaborating their infant green tenderness,  
and I'm thinking of Leopardi and his silences 
deeper than human silence, 

                                          how he would sit  
and watch a single hillside and a hedgerow  
hide the horizon. Transport, or some trans- 
cendental state, is about to rush through me  
when—this feels inevitable— 

                                          out comes a neighbor who 
turns his lawnmower on and the roar of a jet engine
pours down from a plane's sky-scoring wake. 
Try a jubilant emptiness when a mechanical 
racket's going on. 

                                          Bliss yearned for, escapes. 
Two or three hundred years ago birds, insects, 
animals could be heard here, and water's lallations— 
faltering in brooks, wind playing fey games 
with grass and leaves. 

                                          Had some visitor listened 
it would have been easy to slip into rapture, 
the mind put aside, chores forgotten—so I imagine. 
Now the backup beeps of bulldozers staple 
the air, gravel trucks grunt, 

                                          the widespread din 
of construction. Dogs bark. Curlicues and wavelets 
and spikes of noise register on the oscillograph 
in my brain. No perfect stillness remains, no quietude 
sufficient to carry one beyond. 

                                          We must find peace 
in a clamorous exultation, a commotion, a beatitude 
of grace that knows no decibel bounds. The Walls 
of Jericho are always tumbling down and through
the endless commotion we grin, 
                                          too frazzled to smile, 

waiting for a possible opening—silencio, silentium.


Gray Jacobik's recent books include Brave Disguises (University of Pittsburgh Press) and The Double Task (University of Massachusetts Press).