An American silence

An American silence

Poetry is also in the silence
           in the space between the words
in the space between the lines
           in the space before the poem begins
and the space after it ends
           the white space of silence

the streets of Manhattan
           emptied of cars
emptied of pedestrians
           frozen in time
either a blue sky
           or snow slowly drifting down
into Times Square
           filling the space
with its cold
           ghostly silence

Someone has halted the newsreel
           and there is no action
and the breath is held
           and the mind sinks deeper
into thought and speculation
           and you hear your breath
and maybe the gentle beat
           of your heart and you are aware
that you are living
           and that your life shifts
           from one space to another
from one scene to another
           and that the silence
may be your friend
           or your enemy
just as the truth consoles
           but can sometimes hurt

John Lyons


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