UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

I do not believe in silence by Clare Shaw

Because, tonight -
however I try - I cannot get downstairs
without waking my daughter
I do not believe in silence.

Because of the Warboys enquiry,
because of the two hundred-plus women he raped –
because of the policeman defending the findings
unable to utter the word -
“this (herrrrm) crime, this (ahem)
assault, this category (cough)
of offence” –
I do not believe in silence

because of the stairs and the banister’s crack;
the sound of the lock
and my hand on the door - the fifty-tone creak -
the magnificent echo of light-switch and click -
I do not believe in silence

Because of Neda - and everyone’s sister -
and the man who said ‘Don’t be afraid’;
for the sake of my daughter, because of the burkha,
because of the patter of rain;
because of two hundred-thousand years
of human history,
thirty-seven of them my own –
I do not believe in silence

for the sake of my arms, the wrists especially.
With respect to my legs
and my belly and chest
and the comfort long due to my throat

because of nightclubs at one am
and shouts in the street and feet in pursuit
and shops that don’t shut;
because of sirens and the dealers downstairs;
because of Levi and Akhmatova
because of the blue-lipped prisoner;
the itch and the scratch of my pen;

I believe in the word.
I believe in the scrabble of claws
on uncarpeted floors.
I believe in my daughter’s complaints.
I believe in the violin, the E-string,
the see-sawing bow; the cello
straining its throat.

I believe in the heart and its beat
and its beep and the dance of the trace
on the screen, I believe in the volume
of colour turned up, and my blood
which was always too loud.

Because of nights, and the sweats,
and the same rowdy thoughts;
because that one afternoon
when I nailed my own voice to the air
and because there was nobody listening
and through it all
and the sound of cars passing -

I do not believe in silence.