As a lyric poet, I think a lot about the limits of silence. And I try to keep a sense of humor about the problem of those who are stingy with speech. This is a pantoum I wrote a couple summers ago in Auvillar, about the irritation I felt with “Bubba,” the silent type. It’s a riff on a poem by Gérard de Nerval.
As If You Are Dead
Tout vit, tout agît, et tout se correspond.
(Gérard de Nerval)
All lives, all dances, everything connects.
You don’t correspond. No word,
no email. That would be unmanly.
You hold back.
The rest of the world jigs and interacts.
Not you. Men and gods parcel out love
in silent packages . No kisses, no loud stamps.
The rest of the world halloos!
Not you. You swallow your voice.
You’ re one silent package.
Dead, or Mount Rushmor e?
No word, nada. You don’t correspond.
All lives, all dances & all connects. Not you. Not Bubba.