The Sounds of Silence. Or Not

A child who saw these peonies in a vase asked if the rose-pink ones are screaming.  These are the last of the peonies grown locally. Done for the year.


No, I said. They are falling apart beautifully in the manner of their species.  The flowers are spent. 

They were pillar-box red. Their colours change and fade. They are curling up, shriveling.  Their petals will fall and they will be done.














I went to get her a cold drink because it is very hot today.


When I came back, the little one had propped the peonies up against a wall. 


She did not entirely believe me about the no screaming.


I hoped against hope that she wasn’t hearing screaming.







She drank a little. Then she put the glass down on the floor. 

She took each peony and laid it down on the table.  Falling apart, she said.  They need to rest.  






You’re telling her nonsensical things, her mother will say to me.


Now she’ll be asking to bury all the dying flowers.  It’s all very well for you stirring things up.


I should make you go with her to the compost heap with dead flowers and explain the whole thing to her: worms, stench and all.






Yes, ok, I said. 

I thought: the worms will keep the little one bemused for hours. 


What sound(s) can we agree that they make

slithering, sliding, squirming, squealing, smooching, smarming and slobbering,  swilling and slurping all over each other,  smothering and squashing each other ecstatically in their foetid paradise?   


This will be interesting, I thought.













3 thoughts on “The Sounds of Silence. Or Not

  1. Evening Primrose

    Sitting in the roofless tent,listening…

    See all natural forms,he said,not as forever fixed but as expressing a tendency toward another form

    I saw you last night, evening primrose, preparing to open:
    in an instant you changed from bud to bloom,
    pulling back the outer sheath as the petals expanded and became flower. And the tendency then, barely visible, to lose moisture, to wilt, to droop, to shrink, to drop, to become earth.

    I feel in myself the growing tips of age:
    To travel without an agenda, to seek a new furniture of emptiness and silence where I can voluptuously sit as in a pool of warmth,
    living toward dying,
    blooming into invisibility.

    MC Richards 24 Aug 1997

    (Sarah,Towards the end of her life I planted a long stretch of evening primrose (they’re yellow) outside of her room.
    It’s quite amazing to witness them open in the evening as the light dims.
    1-100’s open in a flash,like fireworks.
    She would tell me that she was going outdoors to pull up a chair & “go to the theatre”.

    The last days of her life at R Steiner’s Camphill Village Kimberton Hill’s;
    her room was full w/ flowers-
    most picked in the fields/the garden.
    A stem,a handful,another much thanksgiving for an extraordinary life.
    I recall one afternoon someone came in to remove the “dying/dead flowers”.
    MC would not allow any to be removed.
    She spoke of them as simply moving into a new form.

    Myself I am drawn to the amaryllis flower as it wilts,losing droplets of color moving through other forms before it hangs as an exquisite translucent stained wing.

    Thank you,Sarah for this tale.

    I like to imagine you & this dear child laying these peonies on the compost pile for their “needed rest” -stomping around some & rattling
    off aloud/even screaming “ecstatically” your delicious S sounds.
    Her mother may wish to start the bath.

    1. Jane,

      What a succinct, apt and heartening advice: See all natural forms, he said,not as forever fixed but as expressing a tendency toward another form.

      I like this very much particularly because we are not one person and our personhood has itself so many forms of expression. I like this even more because of the long battle we all wage and waged to be free of imposed forms which are so narrow and boring.

      And what a lovely poem, too! Thank you!

      I had a question to you about MC and you said you would think about it and now I have forgotten it but it is returning and then I will ask it again.

      You might tell from my little story about the child that I am worried about what children are not being taught……..

      Thank you, Jane, for your words and looking forward to seeing you soon again…………………….Sarah

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