Silence is Imaginary


 morning

As the night comes on in the Wachau, a single frog

in the water plants below, astonishingly loud, begins.

He is hesitant, starting and stopping. It seems the whole village

must hear him. He is looking for a mate, but no one answers.

He starts, he pauses, he starts again.

The scientists say that frogs are dying out. No one knows why.

I am sitting on the tiny deck of my hotel room, drinking wine.

How strange and beautiful he is, calling unseen in the darkness,

as the light fades and the mountains reveal a deeper black than black,

and a soft breeze barely stirs on this warm night.

Jupiter, it must be Jupiter, is the first ‘star’. Color is leaving.

The traffic is rare and distant on the river road.

Bells ring every fifteen minutes, two churches

almost in harmony. It is impossible to believe

everything is fading away; the beauty of the earth

cooling before a final consummation with our sun

long after we are gone. Eternity is now,

or rather it has been and will be. We interrupt,

a burglar in the house. We steal whatever is of value;

it affects nothing, a bagatelle. Yet we make eternity

visible. Without us, without the living, without the rocks

and stars, without the lovers in the next room,

nothing is possible. Without the black, or the tentative lights

in this village, without the knowledge we cannot have,

nothing is possible. The wine, as the night, is getting cooler.

The frog is now silent—he has given up—or perhaps

he has other plans, who knows? It is a swirling world,

nothing we do can touch it, and yet it is inside us.

Our bodies praise the bells, in love as we are.

Come, come, there is no distraction, no avoidance;

there is only that magnificent black line which separates

the now darkened sky from the greater dark

of the vineyard mountains and the unseen river beneath them,

that line which continues through the night,

a guidepost to something we will never know.

-BILL MAYER-

 

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