Today's poem is by Clare Shaw

I do not believe in silence

Because, tonight —
however I try — I cannot get downstairs
without waking my daughter
so not believe in silence.

because of the Worboys enquiry,
because of the one hundred-plus women he raped —
because of the policeman defending the findings
unable to utter the word —
'this (herrrrm) crime, this (ahem)
assault, this category (cough)
of offence' —
I do not believe in silence

because of the stairs and the banister's crack;
the sound of the lock
and my hand on the door — the fifty-tone creak —
the magnificent echo of light-switch and click —
I do not believe in silence.

Because of Neda — and everyone's sister —
and the man who said `Don't be afraid';
for the sake of my daughter, because of the burka,
because of the patter of rain;
because of two hundred thousand years of human history,
thirty-seven of them my own —
I do not believe in silence

for the sake of my arms, the wrists especially.
With respect to my legs
and my belly and chest
and the comfort long due to my throat

Because of nightclubs at one a.m.
and shouts in the street and feet in pursuit
and shops that don't shut;

because of sirens and the dealers downstairs;
because of Levi and Akhmatova;
because of the blue-lipped prisoner;
the itch and the scratch of my pen;

I believe in the word.
I believe in the scrabble of claws
on uncarpeted floors.
I believe in my daughter's complaints.
I believe in the violin, the E-string,
the see-sawing bow; the cello
straining its throat.

I believe in the heart and its beat
and its beep and the dance of the trace
on the screen, I believe in the volume
of colour turned up, and my blood
which was always too loud.

Because of the nights, and the sweats,
and the same rowdy thoughts;
because that one afternoon
when I nailed my own voice to the air
and because there was nobody listening and through it all
and the sound of cars passing —

I do not believe in silence.

Copyright © 2013 Clare Shaw All rights reserved
from Head On
Bloodaxe Books
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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