Psalms Without Trumpets

by Steven R Weiner

The ocean and the sky at sunset

The music of barely singing
Is hard to write
Can scarcely be heard
Like voices rising from green wood,
Shy smoke mixing with the steam,
A little sibilance behind the daily buzzing
Like harmonics so subtle that you can’t hear
Them but the sound’s so full and rich
Or thin as an old tea kettle’s
Rattle but it once did whistle
And it knew how it was meant to sound.

These psalms
The kind that gather silently
From behind the lips of those who used to sing
But now pray only out of habit or desperation
Are the most devout
Because they grew inside hearts that had been shuttered
And this vague hum, a pulse of wishes,
The murmur of intentions before the acts that follow
And now both are free,
The wish and power.
That’s where the humming of the psalms come from,
Wires filled with energy that need an outlet,
Ears like a retriever or a hound
Looking for the wounded
May be more sensitive to prayer.
How many of us pray to be heard
When we really need to listen?
Maybe we should listen to each other’s prayers.
It would help us understand each other more,
And through us entire other worlds
That we barely knew existed.

But we had always suspected something
Was being hidden in our sleep,
Some dream of a better life,
When things within ourselves
And outside our block were different.

Just for calming, I have listened
Like I listen to the pulse of rivers
For the hint in the air of psalms
First spoken from the heart
Not blasted through the trumpets
Of the would be angels.
No, the sounds I hear
Below the breath
Between the warbles and the hiding
The pause between noise’s absence
And a sky full of noises.
Are harder than silence
To record.

The end of a lullaby
Rain’s slow descent
The tides in their resting phase
A flute between notes
Small paws in the underbrush
A flap of wings
A pause to catch breath
A flounder shifting in sand
The sound of a dream half asleep
Goldberg reciting to God
The psalms without trumpets
The praise of the oceans and skies
An egg hatching
The twentieth shovel of dirt
A bowl and a pitcher
Washing hands
The last chords on a 45.

We whisper praises
We sing with our silence
We praise with our whispers
As if something was sleeping
And we wanted to let it sleep

Category: Featured, Poetry