Sunday, May 2, 2010

Poem: Did You Hear the Great News?

I was listening to Radio Lab on NPR today and they were interviewing Gordon Hempton who founded an organization called One Square Inch .  Their purpose is to protect our natural soundscapes particularly in our national parks.  Mr. Hempton and others are intent on finding the few remaining places where man-made noise is not present.  Most of our national parks allow airplane and helicopter tours, cars and even snowmobiles, which disrupt the natural setting.  There is a spot in Olympic National Park that One Square Inch has designated as the quietest place in the United States.

I began thinking about how rare it is to find silence.  Even as I sit in my backyard at night, I can hear the distant hum of cars.  Our ears are keen instruments that pick up the smallest of sounds and our brains must then process that incoming information.  Stress ultimately follows.  I have written a poem inspired by the program I heard today.

Did You Hear the Great News?

What’s that awful racket?
rat-a-tat rat-a-tat
Did you hear what I said?
whir, tick, whir, tick,
I hate to repeat.
buzz, buzz, buzz, buzz,
Can you call me right back?
ring, ring, ding-a-ling,
Did you hear the great news?
Screech, scratch, screech, scratch,
They’re gonna build a park.
Ding-dong, ding-dong,
Gotta get the front door.
Dial, ring, dial, ring,
A new park?  Sounds great.
Yawn, cough, yawn, cough,
Back to nature, can’t wait.
I could use some peace and quiet.
Achoo, bless you!


  1. I like the contrast with the exquisite thought of a perfectly quiet space and the "voice" you've given the more likely than not reaction to such news.
    Although it may appear light or funny this is an incredibly "deep" poem.

  2. Thanks. We will never achieve total silence but considering the idea is certainly worthwhile and may bring about a more heightened awareness of our surroundings.

  3. Makes me smile! A wonderful idea, a quiet park. I wonder if it's harder to find real quiet or real dark at night?

  4. Interesting, Shan. The darkness may be harder to find these days. My guess is the quietest place and darkest place are one and the same.