The Oldest Sound

Long ago words were spoken
with the sound of trees,
the whoosh of leaves,
of river water,
the sound of stones,
of crows with lampblack feathers;
we would listen
then form our mouths
to the ohs, the wahs,
the kas, the deep ohm,
mouths shaped to our relations,
to the sounds we heard
within the great circle.
Proud of our many words
we fill the sky with wires
covering the earth
with our sounds
yet the elders say
the oldest sound,
the most important sound
is silence.




20 Responses to “The Oldest Sound”

  1. Jane says:

    Amen. So Powerful. Thanx.

  2. T Johansson says:

    Ah, yes… the oldest healing salve… silence.

  3. Tom Wilson says:

    Beautiful. Thanks, Don.

  4. I often sit and listen to the sound of silence, not realizing it is a “sound”. Thanks for the poetic reminder.

  5. Jack leishman says:

    Don…..right now I’m sitting in a woodland along the slopes of a Spanish Sierra,,……taking in the melodious and hugely varied songs of dozens of species of local birds…….your poem is a beautiful and timely reflection of this experience…..thanks

  6. David Barnes says:

    Most exquisite, Don

    “Our conversation continues in silence
    that underrated third voice that never interrupts
    and always has something worthwhile to say”

    Gordon Hampton: One Square Inch Of Silence

  7. ron laws says:

    Ah – sweet stillness

  8. John Walsh says:

    Beautiful and timely on this day of observance and remembrance in Normandy, France. Thanks, Don.

  9. Richard Woodling says:

    You are a talented and productive poet Don. Thank you for sharing….

    The Oldest Sound: l often wish I were more comfortable with silence although the sound of a loving human voice is quite wonderful too and much preferred…..

  10. David Banner says:

    Yum…yum….so true, Don.

  11. Stan Grindstaff says:

    Exquisite Don… Sitting in natural surround a humming bird visits the stillness & with the subtle sound of her wings inches from my face I open my eyes & hear mySelf…

  12. Steve Goetz says:

    Don, Loved this one … seldom heard, often wished for.

  13. Maria Frid says:

    In silence I hear my heart beating. Beautiful, Don. I am grateful!

  14. Lloyd Meeker says:

    The elders are right! Thanks, Don. I’ve just finished going through the galley proofs of my latest novel, and after all those words, I need silence. I hope readers will both hear and feel a good silence when they finish, too, even if it’s just for a moment.

  15. Chandra Holsten says:

    Wise. The sound of silence, the sounds of nature, reflected in the sounds of poetic words,

  16. Rose says:


  17. Beautiful–full of sound and silence both.

  18. Paul Blythe says:

    Thanks for drawing our attention to our true nature in nature.

  19. Eilish says:

    Love this dad

  20. When I was 11 I had a very memorable day climbing Mt Manadnaock in New Hampshire..I was with my parents and on the descent I decided to run skip ahead of all the others and as I flowed down hill the trees were tossing and murmuring..the wind was stirring them and I heard them speak to me and they taught me their language a kind of deep beautiful sighing sound that filled the chest and opened the heart as one made it..I remember being so exhilarated at this seemingly tremendous discovery and telling my parents when they arrived at the bottom that I had learned the language of the trees… Years have passed and sometimes I forget this and then sometimes I remember..Thankyou for reminding me with your perfect poem.

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