“All has become quiet in Moscow.”
–Count L N Tolstoy, The Cossacks, Sampson Low, Morton, Searle & Rivington, 1878
The air is heavy with silence,
the quiet is a roar of denial–
there is no war
there are no reports
of fallen soldiers and grieving mothers,
only the special operation to protect and save—
do not say otherwise, wiser to say nothing at all.
The air is heavy with silence. That silence is heavy with fear.
For dVerse, where Linda has asked us to write a poem inspired by one of the opening sentences she has supplied. Foreign journalists in Moscow have been forced to leave. Within Russia news is restricted. No talk of war or invasion is allowed. The Russian invasion of Ukraine is called a “special operation.”
That first line is perfect for our times today… so far there are three of us selecting the same sentence… It must be terrible to live in Russia today, I heard some people leaving Russia that they name Mordor.
Thank you, Björn. Yes, I saw several that chose this line. I read an article about journalists in Russia, and one said they were like people in Germany in 1939.
Powerful, Merril, and one of your best!
Thank you so much, Gwen!
I am convinced that line is the one that will inspire many poems today.
Beautifully done, Merril.
I must have misunderstood. I thought we had to use the line not just be inspired by it.. D’oh!
Thank you so much, Dale. There were several that wrote poems to this line. Linda said we could go either way with the lines. A few people did incorporate the chosen line within their poems.
I am sure they did. I keep saying I will participate, then realise I just don’t have the energy. Yet. I might have to push myself a little harder. I’m so sick of being sick!
Well, you can always go back to any of the prompts without linking (and then you won’t feel compelled to read all the responses, too.) I hope you’re feeling better soon.
Which is what I do like to do when I don’t have the desire to read everyone’s (and don’t expect to be read by all, either)
I am coming around!
What an amazing poem Merril. Your opening line roars.
Thank you so much, Linda!
Thank you very much.
Very potent writing, Merril! “The air is heavy with silence. That silence is heavy with fear.”… stunning last line.
Thank you so much, Punam!
This is a powerful and chilling poem. Silence has always had positive connotations for me. As your poem so effectively points out, that is not the case for many people.
Thank you so much, Liz.
That’s an interesting comment about silence. You’re so right. There’s a peaceful silence, and then there’s an uneasy or scary one.
You’re welcome, Merril.
Yeah, the world we’re living in, eh? Great stuff Merril. Thanks
Thank you, Ron.
Such a powerful poem! You know, my heart aches for the Russian people too. Putin has poisoned many minds through his repression, and those who know he is lying have to flee their country. It’s frightening how one man can damage and destroy so many.
Thank you, Marie. It is scary and tragic.
When you wrote “poison,” I thought, and also literal poison!
Yeah, that crossed my mind, too. Such an evil man.
Extremely powerful. That last line feels important: That silence is heavy with fear. It really is.
Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment!
it is heartbreaking and sadly, so true in real time.
Thank you–yes, it is.
“the quiet is a roar of denial–”
Haunting line in your powerhouse of a poem.
Thanks for dropping by to read mine
Thank you so much for your kind words, Gillena. And you are most welcome. 💙
Fits just right, and in those careful lifting of the stones to uncover the facets of the “roar of silence” one does discover fear. Too many Russians accordingly see themselves as victims in this brutal war waged. Powerful poem that really hit a chord with me.
Thank you very much for your perceptive words, Ain.
I tried to leave a comment on yours, but it got complicated.
I am so sorry about jumping around…I cannot access some things at times…is very strange…so just put the poem where I can…except WordPress which is so complicated…apologies again..
Oh–no need to apologize, Ain. I just wanted to let you know that I did read yours, but I didn’t want to sign up. Stay safe!
Oh Merril and my head is heavy with grief as your words are poignant with truth… sad reality. xoxoxxo 💖💖💖💖🙏🙏🙏
Thank you very much, Cindy. It is such a tragic situation. 💙
You’re so welcome.. I know.. I’m having a hard time writing anything much uplifting these days. 💖👏🌻🙏
So well said and such a tragedy.
Thank you so much.
The weight of silence is palpable in your words. And, sadly, in the world. (K)
Thank you very much, Kerfe. Unfortunately, yes.
Thank you for this heartbreaking truth, the very truth that is withheld from the people who are forced to live silenced by a madman.
Thank you very much, Na’ama. I appreciate your comment. I am scared it will happen here, too.
I think wariness is warranted.
It is no more impossible for this to happen here than it is to happen anyplace, and we’ve already seen the seeds of tyranny take hold and be distorted by some as ‘patriotism’ and seen lies being promoted as truth with facts being called ‘traitorous.’ So far, democracy held and election results were upheld, but we’re walking a razor-thin line with many who wish to bend the results to their will, not the people’s.
Yes, I sadly and totally agree.
“do not say otherwise, wiser to say nothing at all.”
Overall, a very “apropos” poem.
Thank you very much.
The poem justifies the title. Very beautiful.
We are seeing real wartime propaganda at work here, Merril: well said!
Thank you, Ingrid.
I think it’s extra scary to me because we have people here in the US (maybe the UK, too?) who would like to see an authoritarian government here.
Oh, I would imagine so, here too…
Powerful words, Merril. Well done!
Thank you, Jill!
Thank you, yes.
Powerful poem…it expresses the tragic state of affairs.
Thank you very much, Linda.
Just a preview of what’s starting to happen in the USA.
Yes, I’m afraid so.
I’m shivering Merril!
Well messaged. The fear laden silence reaches here.
As I had mentioned, I will be doing another Sunflowers post on GLAM.
I will have a series of photos of Sunflower murals/street art.
Each photo will link to a poem, post, art whatever creatives have done.
I’m hoping you will let me use one of yours. I’m not sure which one, as you have done many. Perhaps this one. Thank you!
Thank you so much, Resa.
I’m honored that you want to use one of my poems. If you have a question, you can email me or DM me on Twitter.
A great use of the prompt, Merril. Political propaganda only increases the fear level.
Thank you very much, Dwight.
Yes, it’s very scary.
You are welcome!
Thanks for writing a poem which says something sharply and clearly about this war, and about things most people don’t want to see or realize. We are in much the same boat as the Russians in terms of what we are told about so many things…and fear is a cruel ruler.
Thank you so much.
Yes, it is getting very scary here. We’re not told everything, but also too many people choose to believe the mis or disinformation that is so widespread.