Monday, 24 October 2011


A few weeks ago I attended a poetry workshop in a lovely old house owned by a friend. The weekend allowed me to spend a considerable amount of time in large silent rooms and uninterrupted; I managed to write 5 poems in 2 days. This poem came about as I sat in the drawing room and listened to the silence.

Sitting in silence is an interesting thing to do. If you try it you will quickly discover that we are very rarely able to sit in total silence. That day I could hear an orchestra playing in the old house.


The house is quiet, but not silent.
I can hear an orchestra.

The stray branch which scrapes the window
mimics the strings as they warm up.

As wind caresses the chimney pot
a flute plays in the fire place.

The ‘woods wind’ can be heard
through the old sash windows.

The rattle of a door as it sways against its latch
adds percussion.

Then, as a spoon tinkles in a distant cup
and a pianist springs to life.

In the hall the grandfather clock conducts
beating out a steady rhythm.

Footsteps herald the arrival of coffee
and the moment passes.

John Carré Buchanan
21 September 2011


  1. Have to say I rather like this one, can we ever get silent? From the picture you painted I guess not!

  2. Since the day I wrote that poem I have often tried to find silence and so far I have failed every time. My unofficial definition is no noise for 1 minute try not to hear the ticking clock as you time! Even my walking stick ‘talks’ as we walk / shuffle along.

  3. Loved the imagery in this piece! The door latch and spoon in cup *applause*

    A Poet's Word

  4. Glynis, Thank you for your kind comment. I hope you have time to reaad some of my other work.

  5. Beautiful.


  6. Joyce, Many thanks for your kind comment.

  7. This is such a serene poem, John. I love the images you paint with your words. Personally, I've been learning more and more how to sit in silence -- not only in silence but also just sitting without feeling like I need to be more "productive" somehow. =)

  8. Samantha, Many thanks for your comment. One of the important lessons I have learnt since my accident is; taking time to relax is essential. Not just for people who are recovering from trauma or illness but also for people who lead more normal lives. Taking the time to let your body and mind catch up is a valuable thing to do, as it means that you are more productive when you pick up the mantel again. I find that one of the biggest noises I have to deal with when I relax is my own internal dialogue, which like yours often seems to be pushing me to do more! My advice is; take the time to relax.


I really appreciate constructive feedback. If you are able to comment it would be most grateful.