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Silence -- Thomas Hood

Inspired by my previous poem...
(Poem #512) Silence
 There is a silence where hath been no sound,
 There is a silence where no sound may be,
 In the cold grave--under the deep, deep, sea,
 Or in wide desert where no life is found,
 Which hath been mute, and still must sleep profound;
 No voice is hushed--no life treads silently,
 But clouds and cloudy shadows wander free,
 That never spoke, over the idle ground:
 But in green ruins, in the desolate walls
 Of antique palaces, where Man hath been,
 Though the dun fox, or wild hyena, calls,
 And owls, that flit continually between,
 Shriek to the echo, and the low winds moan,
 There the true Silence is, self-conscious and alone.
-- Thomas Hood
Today's sonnet is built around an intriguing conceit - that there are two
kinds of silence, that where life has never been, and that which flows back
after man has come and gone.

A beautiful conceit, and beautifully developed - there's not a whole lot it
needs said about it. The use of 'self-conscious' at the end is unusual,
though - while I'm not sure what Hood intended by it, I personally lean
towards 'self-aware', rather than the more modern usage.

Links:

We've run one Hood poem, which includes a biography - see poem #251

-martin

66 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

sandi_ordinario said...

At the outset, the poet defines what he means by
silence. First, silence as absence of sound and;
second, "silence where no sound may be" can be
interpreted as may or may not have sounds. He then
gives illustrations of both. The first as "the cold
grave--under the deep, deep sea..." or in wide
deserts that is without life where clouds and shadows
that never spoke over the idle the ground. There is
essentially no audio communications in these environs.

Then to Hardy, the true silence is expressed by the
absence of man, leaving behind "green ruins, desolate
walls of antique palaces" and only now nature recovers
from a lost culture or civilization, inhabiting these
with foxes, hyenas and owls where only shrieks to echoes
or the moaning of low winds are heard. It bespeaks some
melancholic nostalgia of some sort.

This has the same theme as Carl Sandburg's "Preludes on
the Playthings of the Wind" which I hope should be
published in this website also.

Sandi

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and having broken my fingers
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scattered into May.
Let a cut and shave
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Let the silver of the years
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Shameful common sense -
I hope, I swear -
Will never come
to me.

I hope you like it, I did it by myself. 23jj

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