Saturday, May 16, 2020

Moving Into The Silence

—Poems by James Lee Jobe, Davis, CA
—Public Domain Photos Courtesy of James Lee Jobe

The moon is just over half-fat, and waning. Not yet sunrise. The air tells me that a storm is on the way, soon to arrive. See my wife limp? Her ankle troubles her. And I also limp; my knees are shot. Time is catching up with us. But still, life is beautiful, the earth is beautiful. Can you see the dark streaks of color in the pre-dawn sky? Can you see my wife’s sly smile?


Come the dawn, I will shed this human skin.
Once again, I shall be one with the earth,
One with the air, with the water.
Be one with the beautiful light.
Change is the constant. Impermanence.
To walk barefoot and naked
Across the soft soil of this universe,
Reaching out my hands as I go,
Touching the stars with my fingertips.
To burst free from this flesh
And join the pale light of a new day.
Come the dawn, I will shed this human skin.
Come the dawn.

Those finches in my jasmine always sound happy; could it be a lesson? Perhaps I’ve grieved long enough. “Life is for the living, James.” Thank you, little friends.


The bell sounds, and then sounds again.

And through the tolling I hear a call 

For life, the call of the sacred.

Then silence.

I choose 

To give myself to the silence,

To the sacred.

On this day, be it my first day

Or my last, I give myself

To life.

               —for those who went before—

Do our ears keep growing as we age? Seems so.

And how is it

That a thing gets larger and yet is weaker?

The silence, you know, is taking me.

It is a steady decline.

How I love to hear the birds—

An owl in an oak with a soft hoot.

Geese flying overhead—they always sound

Like old people arguing.

My own birds in their cages as they chatter

Along with music from the radio.

And the sounds of the wind. Lovely.

A train air horn at night.

The giggle of a child.

I will miss all that.

My ears constantly worsen, year by year.

More than that; every month.

People don’t seem to believe me

When I tell them that I am going deaf.

Perhaps my laugh is so large

Or my embrace is so bear-like

That such a thing doesn’t seem possible.

Sometimes I just pretend to hear people.
The soft speakers.

I am an actor! At meetings

I miss a lot. Too much.

Around the house my wife startles me

Constantly. I don’t hear her

Walking up behind me,

And then she’ll speak, loudly

So I’ll hear her, and I jump.

Or I won’t know she is there

And she’ll close a closet door sharply.

It’s like having a ghost grab me!

I am moving into my mid-sixties.

This will only get worse,

And the price of a decent hearing aid?

…I am but a poor poet.

Oh, sweet sounds.

Waves lapping the rocks on the shore.

Thunder across the valley, like a rocket launch.

The whimper of a puppy.

The sigh of a woman.

Sandpaper on wood.

I will miss these things

As I move into the silence.

People say that Jesus is coming back,
But they don’t know when.
An owl lives in the stand of pines
Across the street from my house;
I hear her, but I never see her.
If she's silent, how can I know
When she is there and when she is not?
She blends in so nicely.
If Jesus doesn’t tell anyone,
How will they know he is back?

My wife asked what I wanted for Christmas. My goodness, I already have my life, her love, our family, and the entire universe. That seems like enough. “Nothing, dear.”


My friend, I am the moon that circles your planet. I can pull your tides, and I can shine a light on your dark night. Is that not lovely? Come! Let us share a gravity together, and let us always find hope in this togetherness that we share.


Today’s LittleNip:

That the owl sounds so lovely has much to do with the sweet quiet of the night. Wait. Listen.

—James Lee Jobe


Thank you for these poems and photos, James! James Lee Jobe presents a virtual reading on Youtube Friday nights at 7:30pm at His blog for others’ poems may be seen at, for which people can email poems to James at

For upcoming poetry readings and workshops available online while we stay at home, scroll down to the blue column (under the green column at the right) for info—and note that more may be added at the last minute. Check online resources also, such as Eventbrite at


 Wait. Listen. Give yourself to the Silence.
—Public Domain Photo 

Photos in this column can be enlarged by
clicking on them once, then clicking on the x
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