"Listen to the Silence" - Eugene C. Bianchi

“How then does one speak of God?
Through silence. Then why do you speak
in words? The Master laughed out loud.
When I speak, my dear, listen to the
silences.”  (One Minute Wisdom,
Anthony de Mello, pg. 124)

Away from the roar of cutting firewood,

partly to tell myself I can still do it and

okayed by my overseer if I stay off the roof,

I settle on the old bench by the Oconee to

watch a silent movie at this

unlikely outdoor nickelodeon,

with light and dark clouds moving fast

against blue sky as the green river

carries its quiet waters across Georgia

into the Altamaha and on to the Atlantic.

It’s one of those between-times when the

heat and stress of effort gives way to

a sudden shifting of gears in the universe.

Now the Buddhist prayer flags dance

in the wind as it whips young cedars

like pompoms at a game or parade.

Then in a flash he appears on the screen,

lovely red-tail hawk swooping all grace,

now slow, now quick riding the currents,

one eye on me – I swear it – the other on

his supper menu, all the while enjoying

this free ride on nature’s carousel. Back

and back he circles down to a few yards,

as I wave to this avian Nureyev

pausing with wings full spread,

flashing his ballet style for unsung

bravos, encores and merited bouquets.

Now no noise in my breathing, just in and out

with a virtual mantra: Buddha, Jesus, Red

Hawk, water, sky, trees, here, now, enough.

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