IMG_8222I close my eyes and listen
To the impeccable silence of a January day.
Only it isn’t silence,
Just absence of human noise—
Except for that one small propeller plane
Droning across the blue sky.
The breath-fogging air is filled with bright pockets of sound.
In front of me the rapid flutter of chickadee wings,
Followed by a shrill chirp announcing safe arrival in the spirea bush.
Behind me a hairy woodpecker’s rhythmic rapping
Up and down the trunk of the maple,
Probing for insect larvae stunned into stillness by the cold.
Above, one long keening call from a red-tailed hawk,
A triplet of croaks from a raven,
Their swirling flight paths intersecting over my head.
In my right ear, a squirrel rasping the shell off a black walnut,
In my left, the wind riffling through a cluster of persistent oak leaves.
And let’s not forget the cat,
Mewing around my boots,
Complaining of hunger
Or boredom
Or both.IMG_8086


19 thoughts on “WINTER SOUNDS I

  1. Argus

    Silence so loud you can hear it … love that second shot the more, especially for making me wonder the critter that made the tracks. The first shot an invitation, the second an invocation/consummation in one. Love it!

  2. Parmis

    What lovely sounds! Thanks for taking me on this journey. It’s been a while since I listened to the winter sound, dampened by the cold air and snow, inviting me to linger a while longer. Reading this was as soothing to me as a meditation in nature. That is until the last few lines of course! The cat’s meowing made me chuckle and laugh 🙂 Well done

  3. charissagrace

    I really enjoyed this poem. It reminded me of cooking an old familiar soup that I could make in the dark but add flourishes to as a matter of course each time I cook it…and it comes out recognizably the same each time, but oh so different. That is how this poem felt and flavored to me. Each time, just a bit different and each time a good work solid and filling.

    Plus it was a welcome change cus at last a poem that didn’t turn me inside out lol!!

    My favorite thing about it was the structure on the page…the sense of balance and unexpected proportion that the layout added…to me that was the element that sanctified the ordinary and familiarized the numinous.

    Thanks as always, Melissa.

      1. pearlz

        Yes, it’s going very well. If you want a chance for a free photographic print or free copy of the ebook visit any of the blog hop links – you are free to reblog the above link if you wish.

  4. pearlz

    Reblogged this on Ripple Poetry and commented:
    I wanted to share this poem focusing on Sound for all those poets visiting this space who want more examples of how to use it well. I visit Melissa Shaw-Smith’s blog regularly to catch up with her profound poetry and photography. Thanks so much for permission to reblog.

  5. Melissa Shaw-Smith Post author

    The above link gives a good overview of Pearl’s very worthwhile book, After Yasi. Follow the links to check it out. And good luck with the project, Pearl.


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