Guest Poet Paula Grenside

The Art of Silence

When I sit at table, have a meal, 
lift fork or spoon to my mouth, 
I know I am feeding the epicurean 
other inside me.

I give her pasta, peppers, peas. 
She chews, swallows, grows 
large and dumb; she never speaks 
to me, reborn Demosthenes

who struts, orates to laurel-crowned 
youths sprinkling arsenic 
on loaves of knowledge. Before 
they poison me, I'll join my dumbness, 
will learn the Art of Silence. 

April, 2000

Paula Grenside's Questions:

1- This is a poem that has met difficulty with some readers. Do the reference to Epicurus and Demosthenes interfere or help understanding?

2- The poem was inspired by personal experience at school--- so much talking and offering knowledge, but little listening, at times We tend to "poison" them as well as ourselves.

" Dumb" is used in an ironical sense. Not sure it works. Any suggestion to make this concept clear?

Fading Pianissimo

Midges in quarrel with the wind, 
we dot the flux of time and place 
while thumbing through life's scores. 
We skim spring's overture 
and burn in summer the sun conducts 
with cymbal clashes of light. 
We fall, in rapture, to chords 
of time still vibrating in brass leaves; 
last swirls before we fade 

Lyrics of faces recalled to the ear, 
frozen lines of a flute. 
Palpable absence. 
Boned nothingness 
where silver fingers play 
on a grand sky.

April, 2000

Paula Grenside's Questions:

This poem had already undergone three revisions, but I sense it still needs work, therefore, I'll appreciate all suggestions.

1- The aim is to depict life's symphony through musical movements and seasons. Is the imagery excessive, overlapping?

2- The  second stanza introduces death  more as a perception than fear . Besides, I wanted to highlight how dear ones who died are absent and present at the same time; though the faces  can be blurred, the bond is permanent.

Thank you

The Albany Poetry Workshop