I am trying to weigh the silence
Of simply being
Of being in the now,
Under fear of what hovers,
Like the Maoris, who stood with their faces to the past
Revering the ancestors and the ancient gods
Ignoring the looming sorrows
Of pain-soaked tomorrows.
The Maoris called the past naga raa a mua, the days in front
They called the future kei muri, what is behind (1)
We see only the fullness of now
The myth that once before
I hear a roar of distress
Sweeping the globe
Do we clamor incessantly
To defy the silence
Of a supreme being?
Is this a rivalry between She who Creates and We who Destroy?
Do we surreptitiously harbor
A childish need
To flush God out of hiding?
To use ferocity as a bulwark against God's
If we shatter the silence it will always return.
Is it the same silence upon return?
Is silence a lack of signal, or a signal that we are unable
Why do we have no Rosetta Stone for God's silence?
We have priests, rabbis, missionaries
They claim, and we accede,
To a special gift of hearing God's voice.
There is only, and always, God's silence.
Is cancer God's answer?
A friend said, "It takes about 60 trillion atoms to make a human cell,
100 trillion cells to make a person
And 108 billion people have lived so far". (2)
Could not one, just one,
Toss a whimper our way?
Break the suffocating silence?
In the ancient days of yestermonth
Young women were told "bow down, lest you be seen
Quiet down lest you be heard
Settle down, lest you ruffle the centuries
Glide so silently past that your moving does not even rustle
The molecules around you." (3)
In a world that worships the male
Preferably the white male
Preferably the wealthy white male
Women inhabit the toxic silence
Of being nonmale
I am trying to dismantle the jibber jabber of fools,
Of self-proclaimed masters
Who only master the miniverse that they see in their mirrors.
I am trying to peel away
Can we clothe ourselves instead
In a healing silence?
Can we hear
The quiverings of hope
The tremblings of compassion
The birth pangs of wisdom?
I reach a finger across the Chapel ceiling
I am trying to fill the silence
With the weight of boundless joy
Will you hear me?
c. Corinne Whitaker 2018
(1)John Gray, writing in The New Statesman, 20 Dec 2017
(2) Mihai Nadin
(3) Women Artists of the American West