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The Univocity of Silence

by M. A. Istvan Jr.

Silence is just silence, it seems. But silence –
that lack – does it not come in diverse flavors?
The silence of the tower bell differs from
that of the music teacher’s triangle, no?

Sometimes we sense the contrast in subtle tones
given off by each – low intensity vibes
reflecting our own breath, our own warm presence,
or the background notes of some obscure warbler.
Other times we are simply bringing to bear
our understanding that were each one to ring
there would be contrast: hollow versus tinny.

But what, now, of the silence of ears pricked out
for prowlers, versus that of delta-wave slumber,
or of biting one’s tongue?
‘Noise’ inside such silent ones
(hope, fight, flight; low blood pressure; pent up umbrage)
explains – indeed, explains away – the contrasts.

© Michael Anthony Istvan Junior 2015

M. A. Istvan Jr. teaches philosophy at Texas State University. He is infamous in his department for promoting erotic mentorship. For more information please visit txstate.academia.edu/MichaelIstvanJr.

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