Monday, June 14, 2010

Hungry for Silence

Make a place to sit down.  
Sit down. Be quiet. 
- Wendell Berry

I was hungry for silence. 

I longed to listen where there were no words.

I wanted poetry in a quiet language.  

I went to the Botanical Garden.

I waited for words contained
in rhythm, in composition, repetition,
contrast, form. That moved along lines. 

Eventually I found them.

Or they found me.

(And then, again, I am curious. For where do you go to find silence?)
(I have hit the edit button, for I need to correct the above question. My asking steers more in the direction of  - What is contained within silence? Why seek it out?)

Quote from How to Be a Poet by Wendell Berry
Text and Photos © Grete S. Kempton


  1. the calm within
    gathering the peace
    moment by moment
    the silence
    awards us
    awakens us to

  2. to quiet down
    to find that


    Robert - I am awarded, I am awakened. You have granted me a key to the secret door. Now my task is to find the fence. And the garden......


  3. I find the silences between words comforting, magical and mystical. Your photos are awe-inspiring. Blessings! xoxo

  4. Ahhh... beautiful. Why don't I seek silences more often? Could it be that I'm afraid? A friend used to ask me, "What is it you're pretending not to know?" In the silences the question looms. Without noise, there's no escaping it. ~Jackie

  5. So pure. Thank you. (Where is the silence? I can never find it--just out of reach)

  6. I often find myself seeking silence. How else do we hear the things that the clamour of the world blocks us off from? I like what Jackie said although for me I seek the questions as much as the answers. It is only in the depths of silence that I feel truly myself.

    As always the photos generate as much of a response in me as the words do Grete. Beauty is everywhere if we care to look. xx Jos

  7. Robert -

    Actually, I think I might be there already. I can hear buzzing from bumble bees in the distance, and a butterfly just landed on my nose. Under my bare feet the soft touch of newly cut grass, to my right a small pink hill covered in Busy Lizzies. Ouch! I just trod on some stinging nettles....

    Marion -

    In Berry’s poem there is the line - “Communicate slowly.” Perhaps because this gives room for more Silences between the words?

    Jackie -

    "What is it you're pretending not to know?" What an intelligent, profound question! So often we spill energy by hiding that which we know. I am suddenly thinking now of words by Marianne Williamson used by Mandela in his inauguration speech -
    “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

    “In the silences the question looms.” Perhaps here resides also the answers.

    ds -
    Hunting for silence. Me to :-)

    Jos -

    “It is only in the depths of silence that I feel truly myself.” Perhaps when the noise has evaporated, we are left with the essence. Perhaps when there is no need to reach out, we regain our balance and find back to the center. Perhaps when the world is no longer on full volume, we hear the music of our own instrument.

    I am happy the photos speak to you. Yes, beauty is there always. Sometimes the lens of my camera is more alert than those of my eyes.


  8. I gasp at your photography, at what you capture, but what you don't, by what it suggests.

    In tiny slippered feet I scuttle the old pine floors, move doors, peer around corners. It is there, hiding in the silence. It is only two letters that defy what It is. It is infinite. A hinge groans out and tells me, you are close.


  9. Grete, what you wrote in reply to Jackie brought me silence. It is when my body stills and yet I get a great surge of warmth. So it can be when I read something, look at the sparkling sea or walk in the woods and sit listening to the sounds of nature.

  10. Grete dear,

    I believe you can find silence and peace even in the liveliest of parties when your body and mind is at full circle. Sometimes I find myself locked inside a bubble in the strangest of places, where sounds around me become muted and images turn blurry, as if moving in slow motion. Of course, this doesn't happen very often...only when I'm feeling 'balanced' or just incredibly lucky. (^-^)

  11. And may I also add, that you have such amazing eyes for beauty! These photographs are beyond beautiful...

  12. Erin -

    I tried to capture the IT, I thought I saw it for a small second. I went closer, closer, closer. Till I could see it no longer. It had already dissolved in the all.........

    Nicky -

    I see you surrounded by a sea of silence, a wood of silence, words of silence. Sounds of wind. And silence....

    Amalia -

    It is that stillness I look for these days, the one where noise disappears within silence. The feeling of being protected by a skin of silence. To interact with the world, yet be removed from it.

    That which you call a bubble.

    Wishing you days of balance and of course - lots and lots of good luck!

    And thank you for kind words about the photos!


  13. this is such a wonderful post, comments included. to consider silence, is to visit the spirit, the spaciousness of silence itself and this makes this post quite intimate. perhaps silence is intimacy, perhaps the business of the mind is an avoidance or fear of intimacy with oneself and the world around us.
    your photos are quite wonderful too.

  14. Tammie -

    Thanks for visit and kind comment! Sorry for this late reply - I’ve been off screen for a while due to angel visits :-) (see latest blog post

    Silence as intimacy - and spaciousness - yes - that is so true. Silence is the big container for the small and the large. It makes us open - to see, to listen, to connect.