The Quietly Singing Thing


Early one evening in 2015, I got in my little green hatchback and drove from my senior living apartment complex in Asheville North Carolina, along the mountain roads to Burnsville. I had never been there before, but I headed to the Coffeehouse open mic feeling brave and lonely. Our little gathering read to one another from country chairs and rockers in a comfortable old-timey environment.

The owner, Susan, liked my new poem so much that at the end of the evening, she asked for a copy. I drove home carefully on the dark and curving roads, proud I’d gotten my grieving self out of the house to someplace new.

Susan and I didn’t stay in touch as the years passed and I moved to Mexico. Until last night, when I got a photo on Messenger, a picture of the poem signed by me for her, framed on the wall of her Coffehouse; and a question, Are you this Susa?

When I read the poem last night, it was as if I had written it for myself, five years in the future. I cried to receive just the words I so much needed to hear. Just in case you need these words today too, here they are:

The Quietly Singing Thing

When aloneness
looms like a giant shadow on the ceiling,
when loneliness
windmills its many arms
and shouts! in both your ears—
connection is still
the true thing,
the quietly singing thing.
As air is in your lungs,
belonging is close and true.

When you have dangled
and flailed,
as if separation could be credible;
when you have foolishly forgotten
your own dear earthling clan;
when, myopic,
you have imagined you are a star without
a neighbor in the cosmos,
then you must listen,

and fix your attention,
for belonging will call you.
Though it be by whisper
or by sign,
connection will beckon you
softly back,
into the soothing hum
of the big-bodied whole;
into the true thing,
the quietly singing thing.
©Susa Silvermarie 2015


If you like this poem, you can find it and others that will do your heart good in my new book Poems for Flourishing.

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