Staci’s poem, Be Silent ~ Be True ~ Just Be put this song into my head, where it stuck, begging a journey to YouTube while fiddling with internet tasks. In a long list of renditions there, this recording stood out. It’s quieter than the original studio recording, purer, with just the two voices and Paul Simon’s guitar.
And in the first line? My old friend saying, gently, pay attention Peter.
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
Within the sound of silence
The darkness again, my old friend, and another familiar friend, silence. A splendid triumvirate are we.
In my darkness there is silence, refuge from an insistent inner voice, the voice that calls, whispers secrets and destinies. “Peter,” she tells me, “you are not this caterpillar.” Seeds sown while I lay sleeping.
Another silence lingers in the darkness, the one the inner voice calls to. My voice. This voice you’re reading. The voice that speaks from experience, but which finds words not its own, words of wisdom from another time, an ancient voice. In the silent darkness without voice, without wisdom, the void of my sleep forms the chrysalis of my being.
Not that I am alone.
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never share…
And no one dare
Disturb the sound of silence.
Roused from my dark silence into a cacophony of angry voices. “Mosque at Ground Zero!” read the headlines. People talking without speaking. People hearing without listening. So I stepped away, and in the silent place listened.
In the quiet shadows of rancour I listen for my own voice, trying to find the true amid all the truths. When it comes, my voice speaks not to the anger or the pain, but to the common ground. Cut through the pain, the fear, the anger, the nascent hate not with intellect, cleverness, contempt but with compassion, love.
I am gladdened to find my voice is not alone. Another joins in, finds more common ground. Then, another, the blogger whose voice originally called us, who spoke first with the anger; she steps away, listens in the silence and hears the anger in her own voice, listens to the divisive emotion in her own words, and she turns away from the anger, finds the way to true, finds words that speak. Now I wonder… do I hear ten thousand voices learning to speak, remembering how to sing as one, in unison and harmony? Are we rising from the sound of silence?
Ten thousand, maybe more.
The words of the prophets are written to the chatroom walls, and comment blogs.