So much noise—like we think to hold up heaven
with pillars of nonsense sound.
Every feast, we gather what silence
we can, press it into wine, hold it up
for the spirits who court our own, for revelries
of revelations in the hallways forever
in rays of sun, or in the hallowed courtyard
of the passing years.
But every so often, I look up and wonder
if even there there’s such silence, then what
heady drink might be squeezed from the quiet
of space stretching out from us
and from our small world, thickening
with the awful distance. I wonder,
if we downed that drink, and all
existence began to quiver like the slip of air
just above the drum of my ear,
would there be any sleeping through the stupor,
any waking again to what is near?
If there is out there a silence to break
our pillars of sound, would heaven,
or something else, or nothing,
come crashing down?
Patrick Doerksen is a social worker living with his wife in Victoria, British Columbia, where flowers bloom as early as January and it is very difficult to be unhappy. His fiction and poetry have featured in The Bond Street Review, Presence, Bewildering Stories, The WiFiles, and (parenthetical), among others.
Editor’s Notes: The second verse lines—the quiet/of space stretching out from us/and from our small world, thickening/with the awful distance—are what prompted the image from NASA Voyager 1. Hashem AL-ghaili performed a remix of the Pale Blue Dot photograph of planet Earth taken in 1990 by the Voyager 1 space probe from a record distance of about 6 billion kilometers (3.7 billion miles) from Earth, as part of the solar system Family Portrait series of images. Carl Sagan suggested the idea for the photograph, which can be seen here together with his Cornell lecture of 1994: https://youtu.be/4PN5JJDh78I