! ! Monastery
Up the long flight of stairs
every tread echoes from stone walls
as if to comment on how stillness
tells of sound its silent origin.
In the quiet library, the central table
bears a careful written message:
‘Silence is spoken here’..
and that’s truer than
at first it seems to read;
round the walls, shelves of books
as silent as the monks
standing upright in their stalls
witness words that seek to share;
yet ultimately, wave fare well, turn back;
speak of silence sought and silence found;
yet cannot speak of silence;
in the name of silence, take a book,
well-worn, from off the shelf;
meet it in the silence of the room,
read a few words, and lay it down;
glance at the other readers round the room;
Here, silence speaks of stillness;
stillness joys in silence.