Cordite 45: SILENCE is guest edited by Jan Owen
Silence as a theme could be interpreted, explored and challenged in innumerable ways. It might seem quietly paradoxical to even think of writing about absence of sound and language, but then we communicate with silence as our measure and matrix, especially in music and poetry. It’s a mysterious concept: I think of the silence of Tao, of Pascal’s eternal silence of infinite space. And what is the actuality of it to the profoundly deaf, to the one in solitary confinement, to the bereaved or oppressed?
It could be especially fruitful to deal with the concept in the plural: the many silences in our lives – intimate, hostile, enforced, questioning, fearful – and how they are coloured and understood by the before and after. How do we sense the qualities and degrees of various silences and quiet times, their shapes and textures? How do we experience inner silence in meditation or reverie, the relief of quiet after chaos, the knife-edge of silence that is suspense or dread? We are aware of the power of silence in speech and poetry; of timing as the essence of humour and drama, of the pause of the line break, ‘the beauty of innuendos’, the full stop in the text and in life – the finality of Hamlet’s last word. I like Roethke’s wish that his silences be more precise, and Mallarmé’s dream of a ‘silent white poetry.’ Yeats’s lines (slightly adapted) might spur you on: ‘Like a long-legged fly upon the stream/ the mind moves upon silence.’
But please, no blank white sheets!
Submit up to three poems … but first, please read the submission guidelines.