Monday, 9 March 2015

Listening Out for Kindness OR The Other Side of Silence

Some days, it can feel as if we are falling apart; everything goes wrong or at least not according to plan and listening or reading to the daily News extends that sense of falling apart to the world itself; it and we, it seems, are in freefall…

Whatever happened to kindness, we may well wonder? Suddenly, we hear or read about a simple act of kindness that touches the heart, restores our sense of being part of something worthwhile even if that worthwhile-ness is vulnerable to attack from extreme forces that have no place in in a world where love, peace, tolerance and kindness are seen as strengths not weaknesses, and just because these are elements of human nature with which we will almost certainly always have to contend doesn’t mean to say we cannot win our own personal war against them if not every battle. 

A teacher who was well-liked but considered eccentric, once told a noisy class, ‘Shut up, the lot of you! Now, listen to the silence. Yes, listen to the silence. The chances are it’s an angry one, at the very least fristratied. And what’s on the other side, eh? Kindness, that’s what, a whole new world to which the inner ear will lead any one of us who can be bothered to listen out and head for it.’ For a whole minute, you could have heard a pin drop, and then we pressed on with the lesson, about which I recall nothing, 50+ years later, but that silence.


There is a darkness
that is not night, but an absence
of light
in a space that is no vacuum,
but filled
with all the sound and fury
of an alarm clock
ticking towards a clapping of hands
in applause
for a sorry world’s falling
to pieces

There is a silence
that is not quiet, but an absence
of any sound,
freeing the senses to urge cloth ears
open up
to all the sound and fury
of unspeakable
injustices, prejudices, malpractices,
sure to cause
a sorry world’s falling
to pieces

There is a voice
that has no words, but an absence
of expression
meant to shatter the darkness,
release the silence
to all the sound and fury
of the human heart
raging against powers-that-be
setting agendas
that would see its humanity
in pieces

There is a life force
that births humankind in a stream
of consciousness
and nurtures it in the darkness
of a silence
daring the sound and fury
of human existence
to find a voice, make itself heard
with the resonance
of a kindness sure to piece us

Copyright R. N. Taber 2015

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