Wednesday, 19 August 2015


“Absolute silence leads to sadness. It is the image of death.” - Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Poets United this week has challenged participating poets with the midweek theme of “silence”. Here is my contribution:

The Strength of Silence

“Silence”, says he, “is golden,

Words are silvern
So speak not, for it’s more precious
That way, the speechless way.”
And even in the account book of words,
His mind is on profit.

A strong, silent type, he is,

Or so he would have you believe him be;
A man of few words, silvern – remember?
But more often his is the loud silence
Of hollow ringing as each gold ingot falls on begging ears:
Taciturnity passing off as fortitude.

When evening fell, when night cut cold

When every fibre of your orphan soul
Was crying out for a flood of words,
Brazen, leaden, wooden even –
His silence (precious but empty, golden but hollow)
Met your begging expectancy.

And in the darkness, as your heart froze

His icy golden fortress of quiet
Chilled your being even more.
How strong, the silent type,
How motionless, immovable,
How unmoved, unmoving…

The strength of silence harder than rock,

Sharper than scalpel blade,
Colder than arctic tundra,
More efficient executioner than falling axe.
The strength of silence hides weakness,
Crippled emotion, cowardice, egoism.


  1. Silence can go either way, I guess it is all dependent on how it is used.
    There is an old addage about children being never heard. That is oppressive.
    We can guilt them or force them into silence which can be deadly.
    And there are def those that would rather hear themselves speak
    than anyone else. Ha.

  2. Silence in the wilderness is always a sign of danger.

  3. Such a wonderful message in this poem.. indeed silence is golden.
    Beautifully executed!

  4. Ah, interesting thoughts here, Nick. Indeed perhaps it is true in more cases than not that the strong silent type is indeed a weak person....or a person with crippled emotion. I have known people like this. They are hard to deal with really. I'd much rather deal with someone who could discuss than those who keep their wall of silence intact.

  5. I saw the direction you were going and groaned - it is the unwelcome cold of silence that cuts to the marrow. Your words cut very well :)

  6. I feel the emotion in "when every fibre of your orphan soul was crying out for a flood of words"......the one described sounds an unforthcoming sort. Well penned.

  7. Outstanding job with this. That opening stanza is a killer.

  8. Wow, this is've nailed the silent treatment dead on!

  9. the last line best describes the man, the strong silent type...seems he used 'silence' as a verb form in his life strangling everyone close to excellent write....

  10. Sounds as though he is the last person to say this. He should have stayed silent then we might have thought he was a fool but this way he proved it!

  11. A different take on the topic.

  12. Yes, silence can be the best defense against truly being known. Love how you capture this in this poem.

  13. Best to be an open book than a closed one !