I wasn’t going to post again this month – CED’s Body Month. But today changed that. I’m still at the cabin, leaving tomorrow. One of the things I like best about being here is the quiet, the silence. I forgot that I’d written a poem about it when I got here. I’ll put it in as an introduction to the idea of silence, total and complete, because today I found out someone was taken from our midst, leaving a silence total and complete.
Quiet fills the cabin.
It’s only me.
How much noise can one person make?
The cabin makes its own noises.
Whirs, grumbles and hisses
As the furnace starts up.
The kitchen is culprit too.
Coffee gurgles, toasters spring,
Water runs, disposals crunch and grind.
I suppose I break the cabin’s quiet.
It’s not like Bradbury’s Mars House.
The appliances don’t run on their own.
Quiet’s not the same as silence, though.
Opening the window to the still night
Reveals silence I can feel.
The silence of the night is
Enveloped by the cold.
It sucks it in, dampens it, leaves it there.
So important to hear nothing,
So I open the window, suck up my breath
As the silence consumes me.
Quiet fills the cabin
But silence fills the night.
The quiet cabin nests in the silent night.
After tinkering with this poem late this afternoon I got a shocking message on facebook. A former seventh-grade student of mine, one of my favorites (I have so many favorites), died last night, 20 years old, in his third year of college. The ultimate silence. I don’t know the cause of death but I suspect it didn’t have to happen. And now Mike’s gone forever but he’s left the silence behind him. The silence will rest within his parents as they grapple with the loss of a child. They’ve seen the worst that life can give them. Sure, they’ll move forward but that huge silent void will always be there. In my poem, I wrote about a comforting silence, but there is nothing comforting about the silence left for Mike’s parents to live with.
Dozens of his friends are leaving messages to Mike on his facebook page as if he’s going to read them, and there is uniform shock and disbelief. One says
“mike i cant believe this man, we were just chillen a few days ago. RIP im sad to see you go homie.”
Love you Mike. You’re such a beautiful beautiful person.
i dont even know what to write bud …i can really say that you have left me in shock and that we will all miss you…im glad that i was able to see you before all this…R.I.P love you man
Mike, one of the best friends a guy could have….I’m glad I got to see you before you left, but I would do anything to have you back. I hope you are in a better place and we will all miss you man. RIP
and then quite simply,
rest in peace buddy.
There’s death and then there’s death. Illness can be understood. Accidents can be understood. Even suicide can be understood. But i don’t have an explanation for Mike’s death and probably never will. My heart just aches for his parents.