Even if no decipherable word escapes my lips
and the whiffle of my breath is all I hear – then
a mouse behind the wainscot buffs its claws
on plaster dust. Wasps buzz their way in and out
of a gap they’ve found/chewed between the soffits
and the wall, busy building beauty no-one else can see
and sparrows chitter in an irritable-sounding way
in the ivy-draggled fence. I put my fingers in my ears:
my breathing sounds like thunder rolling over hills.
Now the wind begins its blather through the leaves . . .
Silence is an absence of all these, a white and empty
space I almost see behind my eyes, beyond the inside
of my head. Hearing’s the sense we lose ebbing away.
Silence is how we know at last we’re dead.