The Sounds of Silence

When I was a little boy, and I’d get hurt, I’d cry. Many times my dad would tell me to stop crying, or he’d give me something to cry about.  The slightest whimper or sigh would bring his fury upon me. I learned that silence was the way to avoid further pain.

To this day I seldom show pain or angst in front of people. I’m a strong and tough individual because I was made to be so, but I am also very caring and sensitive to the needs of others. I try not to let the softer side of me show, camouflaging it behind a quick and sarcastic wit.

But like it says in the old Bobby Goldsboro song from back in the day: I’m just a funny little clown, hiding behind a smile.

I fancy myself a writer, you see. And much too often it seems to me others do not fancy me to be much of one. They tell me this with their silence. For it seems to me when I bare my soul in a poem and place it before a large group of people, if it were a good poem, some of them would tell me it was. Too often, they say nothing.

Today, as I sat staring at a poem I’d posted on my blog—a poem I think to be among my best—another old song came to mind. My heart was aching, and disappointment was overwhelming me as I looked at the column which shows how many had viewed the poem since I posted it some 24 hours ago. The number was one, and the one that had taken a peek at the poem had not seen the need, or been impressed enough, to leave a comment. As I wondered why this was, trying to find reasons why my “work” was not worthy of even a glance, the words my dad had so often spoke came into my tortured mind, and then, for reasons I can’t explain, this song—this particular verse—began to play in my head:

And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more.
People talking without speaking,
People hearing without listening,
People writing songs that voices never share
And no one dare
Disturb the sound of silence.

An old Simon and Garfunkel tune. It seemed to take hold of my heart and begin to squeeze the life out of me, and I felt sadness like I’d not known for some time. A lump rose in my throat, and a sigh maybe a groan fought to pass it. I choked it back, for I felt should either sound—any sound—pass my lips… I would surely disturb the sounds of silence.

I dared not.



  1. Juli said

    I can only imagine how this silence must feel. It is not a peaceful silence, I am sure. I celebrate your writing. You speak an easy to understand language and without you I would not have learned so much. God bless you, Charlie. Keep writing even when the audience shows no appreciation. Do not write for the pat on the back that may never come. Instead, write as if the whole world is reading and hanging on your next word. You are so blessed! Don’t let the demon of negativity try to bust up the good that you do!! This is the Charlie Mashburn show and I will never miss an episode. Lots of love~ Juli

  2. Susan said

    You do your best writing when you are emotional. Keep on keeping on.

    • You don’t know how true that is, Susan. When I feel sad, glad, or bad, I don’t shy from the keyboard. I attack it with all that is within me. It even comes out in my novels.

  3. Thank you, Charles. I’ll be okay soon. Just…wallowing a bit. 😦

    • I know. Just want you to understand you’re not alone. Many of us have been there, done, that, and have a drawer full of shirts to prove it. It’s okay to put one on once in a while, but we shouldn’t make it our favorite. When I get to feeling down, I like to grab my old favorite; the one with the faded smiley face on the front. On the back it says, BITE ME!

      • lol thanks. I’m going to get up and try again. And I appreciate you reaching out to make me feel better. That means more than you know, Charles. ♥

        wish me luck. I’m writing this morning.

      • I don’t believe in luck, so I will wish you peace, and blessings you cannot contain.
        We write because we cannot manage the common communications of smiles and gestures that come easily to others, and so we must use words on the page to say things others would never need to say.

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