Quietude

There’s a sound in the house,
a resonant thrum in the house
we reside in, the home we created,
a throb, a buzz, a tone which,
when absent, defines utter silence;
the nothingness present during times
when power lines cease their humming,
now the only competition with birdsong;

Refrigerator madness, the distant
din of day traffic, groan and gurgle
of water coursing through pipes,
of a neighbor’s television droning
at daybreak when sunshine floods
an azure sky, stretching golden rays
of warmth, light and brilliance;

The rubber band whine of small planes
flying over expansive fields, cascading
waterfalls that cleave lush verdant hills
in two, breasts of our mother, the earth;
contrasting with ropes of ebony lava
and gushing fire erupting on the
island’s furthest shore.

all photos ©Bela Johnson

37 thoughts on “Quietude

  1. Beautifully said, Bela. The presence of the ones that make the home, the silence in their absence, and the sounds of nature that try to fill the gaps…and sometimes themselves become a part of that home. Love the pics too!

    1. Thanks, Vidur, for your poetic interpretation. Lovely. Glad you enjoyed the photos as well.

      Yes, we live with large open windows on every side of the house overlooking expansive gardens. It’s hard to distinguish at times ‘inside’ from ‘outside’ sounds! 😉

    1. Nice. Especially as I get older (and older still – just turned 65 yesterday!), I simply require silence most of the time. And blessed that I am able to live in it. Aloha, Sue! ❤

  2. When we truly learn to listen to the breath of nature the silence is filled with beauty.
    Beautiful share dear Bela.. Sending continued love over the ocean as you embrace the peace your side of the Island.. Much LOVE. ❤ 🙏💖

  3. My favourite line: ‘The rubber band whine of small planes’ — so evocative, brilliantly oblique. A belated Happy Birthday to you, dear Bela, for Thursday; as I raise a cup of Earl Grey to you here in England on Sunday morning. H ❤

    1. Thanks for the birthday wishes, my friend. Another day on Planet Earth, grasses edged and mowed, more papayas planted … that was the weekend whooshing by …. how are you doing? Is summer making its presence felt?

      Glad you liked that particular line, it really does sound like that to me when these small planes fly over, which only happens rarely in our corner of the island. Sending
      love, as ever. 🌈💐❤️

      1. I’m doing pretty good, thanks, and am just working on my second redraft of the novella, which I think will be the last barring minor tweaks and corrections of errors unseen — though one never knows. Actually, it’s a bit disturbing realising my failure to spot, say, lousy transitions or clunky diction on my first draft. But then I read of professional authors saying all their first drafts are shit (that being the common analogy). I’m just about to read Fen by Daisy Johnson, and she says precisely that, which is comforting. I suspect we get blinded by being too close to the words, and I know when I read my own drafts I have to sort of scope out and read with a reader’s eyes, not a writer’s. Then there seems to be a third mode which is as a proofreader, and which is different again to taking it in as either a reader or writer, and you have to double-check that what you’re seeing is what’s actually there and not what your brain thinks is there on the page. I daresay you know all this from your own writing. And yes, summer may actually make an appearance this year, though it hasn’t for the past few — the seasons being more of a blur these days — but May was the warmest on record and the long-range forecast is for a hot summer. Sending love in return to you Bela. H ❤

      2. Yes, it’s one thing “Writing Down the Bones” (a book by Natalie Goldberg you might genuinely benefit from as to mechanics and process) and quite another to prepare for publication. You have teased out and identified three distinct roles; that of writer, reader and editor/proofreader. And still I regularly discover errors in published works! I wonder what has slipped in the transition between written pages and those typed into a word program. At any rate, here’s wishing you well in that continued process.

        As to weather events, I am sure we can expect them to continue, as the bulk of human beings will ignore any sort of warning until the bitter end. And so we roll with the changes as best we can, focusing on what’s important in order to remain sane in the midst of it all. ❤️

  4. H has picked my favourite line too – ‘The rubber band whine of small planes’. Cracking set of wordage Bela, that works really well with the photos. You have such a diversity of beauty on your island, I enjoyed this. Oh, and belated happy blessings for your birthday from Esme and the Cloud as well ❤

    – Esme Cloud placing a garland of yellow flowers over Bela's head

    1. Thanks and thank you, dear esme! I’m glad for this new theme where I can add multiple images. Love curatng just the right ones for the word-pictures.

      Hope you are well these days. The garland you speak of is called lei po’o here or haku lei, and I gladly accept your choice in colors! 🤗💕 💗 ❤️

  5. Amazing photos of Hawaii, Bela. But also another amazing poem from you. Quietude, I really like that title and idea of it. I absolutely love quiet, be it quiet when you can hear a ‘resonant thrum in the house like you said, or the quiet where you can hear a pin drop. Some might find it nothingness eerie but I like it for the fact that that anything is possible and you can create your own possibilities with your pure imagination. Nothing like quiet as quiet nature as you alluded to towards the end of your poem. Sometimes there will be sounds around and overhead reminding us we are not alone – some of us rejoice in that. And we aren’t in the middle of all this big and quiet nature.

    1. Mahalo, Mabel. Well, you know I love quiet. Any sort, even the spaces between words these days. When I was younger, I would rush to get the words out, silly little Gemini, never really comfortable speaking, always more grounded when I could express myself in writing. But knowing I must offer something verbally … And I think this still holds true, on balance.

      Being in the middle of nature keeps me sane in an insane world. A quiet mind can hear nuances and keeps me attuned to what is important. Have a blessed week, Mabel! 😘

      1. ‘A quiet mind can hear nuances and keeps me attuned to what is important’ So true and so agree with that, Bela. Being quiet we are more intuitive and that helps us makes connections. You have a good week ahead too 😘😘

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