Sunday, October 1, 2023



Hearing in Silence


Yesterday the sound of waves crashing

on the beach filled my ears with sandy joy,

today I am beset by grind of traffic, honking

horns, cab drivers yelling out the window,


move on, move on.


Why can't cars commute in reverent silence

so we can hear the quiet of the forest,

the rush of water retreating from the shore.


Why can't city voices be still so we can hear

thunder of a waterfall, miracle of a baby's first cry,

sound of earth touched by hiker's boots,

song of a migrating yellow warbler,

sigh of lover's as their mouths join for the first time,

tinkle of an ice cream truck delivering a frosty treat

on an overheated, humid summer evening.


Reflections III


Morning lake shines like a mirror, reflecting images

from the pastel sky filled with watercolor clouds

on the cool, crip lake surface. Trees cast their silhouettes

on the shimmering lake, while splashes of golden sun

reflect off the silent waters.


Symphony of sounds fills the air, with the lonely

call of loons, the rustle of fallen leaves disturbed

by white-tailed deer warily coming to quench

their thirst at the pristine shore, flock of noisy honkers

rising from their overnight roost to continue their journey

south for their winter stay, the first sounds of sleepy-eyed

humans, emerging from their tents, starting a fire,

sharing memories of night dreams and distant plans.


Too soon, a restless wind brushes the lake,

replacing reflections with ripples and whirls,

as clouds and humans get on with their day.




When darkness obscured the light


Pandemic sent me into a world of alone,

a place where fear of the unknown was known,

and each of us faced our fears, lonely and afraid,

it was like looking at a meteor headed for earth,

not knowing where it would crash, who it would kill,

whether survivors would face serious consequences.


Some chose to be deniers, trivializers, while friends

and neighbors, mostly older, were hospitalized, died,

trying to catch a breath as exhausted nurses and doctors

rushed from room to room, or pleaded on TV for people

to vaccinate, mask up, social distance...I did all three,

shut my blinds and my door with only talking heads

for company, until I could not stand the aloneness

and went walking, social distanced, in the park,

looking for birds and deer, perhaps a squirrel

who enjoyed the absence of people in their space.


I'm still alive but attending too many postponed

Memorial services for friends and family, wondering

What pandemic is next, telling my troubles to a blue jay.




When I was six, Mother hauled

me to the pediatrician, said I talked

too much, at eleven she took me

to a psychologist because

I wouldn't answer her questions

about how was school, who

I ate lunch with, and why I played

music in room so loudly,

at twenty-four, my soon to be ex-wife

nagged me into going to a fertility doctor

since she was sure I didn't hear her

when she offered to have sex six days

a week, at fifty-eight a different wife

of thirty years said I needed to see

an audiologist since I didn't hear her

when she asked me to empty the garbage,

now, at 80, the same wife thinks I need

a gerontologist to help me remember

things, like the day of the week

when the garbage container needs

to be rolled to the curb.


In the future I'm sure they'll be more

doctor visits to determine why

I didn't see the dog in the driveway

when I backed out, and failed to hear

the phone when it rang. Between

visits I'll immortalize these moments

in poetry, then stare at the page not

remembering how the words got there.



PETER A WITT is a Texas poet and a retired university Professor. His poetry has been published on various sites including Verse-Virtual, Indian Periodical, Fleas on the dog, Inspired, Open Skies Quarterly, Active Muse, New Verse News and Wry Times. He also writes family history with a book about his aunt published by the Texas A & M Press, and is an active birder and photographer.


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