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Page 28

The scornful critic says "a waste of paper"
or "a waste of trees," but what of the waste
of blankness? Cannot blankness be wasted?
Is it too abundant to count the loss?
Are all our voices, all our poems, stories,
groans, ads, speeches, horn-honkings, farts,
lectures, motors, breathing, throbbing,
ear-splitting amplifiers, artillery barrages,
drums and trumpets -- are all these no threat
to endless silence?

And yet, a silence into which a single
"Hello" has dropped (spreading circles
on silence) is no longer nor will ever
again be absolutely silent, everywhere
devoid of any slightest reverb
of that hello, nor does the question arise
whether anyone remains to hear,

for if no one is here to hear,
silence (not unheard) would not be silence,
would it? And if no one were there
to hear, would not a hello create
someone to receive it? Children give dolls
life enough to receive their lonely hellos;
what we create to hear our prayers
becomes as real to us as you, reader,
are to me now, writing these words.

Before the hello, was there silence?
How would we know it in the absence
of hello? Silence is an unanswered hello.

What other trap is there than waiting
for an answer? Looking at a blank page,
I imagine a question
(What should I say here?
To be or not to be?)
and wait for an answer,

and there I am
in the forever we call
writer's block and some call

Note: The words "What other trap is there than waiting for an answer?" paraphrase a killer sentence I found in a book called Dianetics 55 by L. Ron Hubbard. Since that sentence gains immensely from what precedes and follows it in that book, I won't quote it here, but invite you find the book in library or on the web, and read the whole thing.

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