Listen. (from The Puzzle Box.)

July 30, 2008 at 6:53 pm | Posted in writing | 36 Comments
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Listen. Not to me. On a cool, clear night like this the traffics are louder. They hurrr by like bundles of compressed air whirlywinding someone home. The old man next door has gone to bed. He coughs his awakeness and will soon snore his dream.

This pen pushes black ink across a white page with a jumping, scratching rhythm. These next three dots are not a device they are a drumm roll… This last full stop is a rimshot crack.

The oceans from which you come continue in your breath, hear soft lines rhythm in and curl out. You are a continent composed of dreams, a land of mystery and miracles and your heartbeat I hear as the voice of God entrusting her creation to you.

This is not a metaphor nor an allegory nor an image. You are not a story you tell yourself. Your life is not an American Movie. Star light is real and brings the heavens to you to kiss your eyes and in this cold night voices purr in the street as drunkards roll home and cats pursue the objectives of their owners and an old grey muzzle dog’s tail thumps once on a bare wooden floor.

The moon speaks to him in his voice and to you in the voice of your blood and the ocean though miles away moils in each of your cells, salt water in your tears, salt water in your blood coloured by passion and the breathing you hear is not your own, nor mine but the voice of a child a thousand miles away, born before his time and waiting. Waiting for your eternal embrace, your warmth to bring him home and his mother in the clouds of morning, in the ever present sunrise, you can hear her smile in birdsong and in the crackle of dry leaves under bare feet.

Insects sing.

There is no other proof of your existence but this, the sounds that you hear, always, every sound ever alive in the tremor of the tiny bones hidden in your head. Imagine that, the slightest of vibrations creating all this clamour of life which never stops, is always warm and slow, fast and hot and though you may close your eyes you may never close your ears, not even in sleep wherein sounds will form the matter of your dreams.

And though you may close this book forever and never read another word, wordless the world will come to you and reveal itself to you and there is no other proof that you exist but this, that you are beloved of the earth and the creatures around you, insects and stars are quietly harmonising with your breath and the rhythm of the ocean enlivens us all, the moon’s voice is eternal and God whispers lullabies in breezes, rain storms, traffic and there beside you now, the ever present child drawing warmth from the murmur of your heart as it marks the patterns of joy, the echoes of pain, the wheel which never ceases to turn and touching you rolls on, it hurrrs as it turns slowly fading into just you, you alone, surrounded by and singing with the voice of God.

(The Puzzle Box by Paul Squires is available for purchase here.)


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  1. ohmy goddess Paul! this is a fantastical piece! it is one to be read and reread, the juicy words savoured… yes, i think this is my favorite to date – full of words playing and the breathe of humanity and our frailty and magnifcence woven throughout it.
    Thankyou, Lakota. This one is from my very soon to be released book, so I am glad it is a favourite.

  2. B-E-A-utiful!
    Thankyou, Sumedh. The garden is looking magnificent. When are you going to write another beautiful metaphysical poem?

  3. i adore “hurr by” …

    i’m smiling inside a wondroustear …

    surrendering to a deepwordless sigh … yes,
    Thankyou, Shell,

  4. Beautiful, peaceful and positive… Loved it…
    I’m very glad that you did.

  5. wow paul this really fantastic. def something i’ll be reading over and over again.
    Thankyou Lissa!

  6. it’s the imageries. they are tearing me down with adulation. fading into just you, you alone
    Thankyou, Aefiel,

  7. You are a continent composed of dreams, a land of mystery and miracles and your heartbeat I hear as the voice of God entrusting her creation to you. from your lips to god’s ear. i think so. you write so beautifully it hurts.

    Oh no I don’t want it to hurt, haha. Thankyou Sarah.

  8. when oh when is the book coming out and can i get you to sign a copy when i buy it prettypretty please?
    The book will out very soon, Lakota, within the next week or two. I am going to do a post about it soon. Of course I will scrawl on one for you.

  9. i love it so much i’m bawling
    Oh no, don’t cry. Everything will be alright. Thanks, Tipota.

  10. So uplifted am I, my toes barely tickle the ground. Sounds like this, like you so eloquently arrange restore everything. Thank you for writing!
    Your welcome, Kristine. Thanks for your lovely comment. It is always a joy to see you around.

  11. I Listened… totally. How wonderful this is and how gentle it reads us into some kind of meditative state but at the same time exhilarating us. Exquisite.
    Your book – should it be studied, pencil notes to the side, doodles of smiles or questioning pleas? I have a Tennyson book that I studied many years ago (many many years ago) and I have written in it all sorts of things and by The Lady Of Shallot I have drawn a picture of her castle with arrows and little jokes. There are places where I have looked up definitions to remind myself and on one there is just the word ‘favourite’. I think it takes a very special book to interact with the reader so much but I don’t know… something tells me that I would like to keep every page of yours lily-white save for the words written upon it. Maybe I should buy two? hahaha…
    Thanks Mary. I am a big for not writing in books. But it will be yours so you can do whatever you wish.

  12. Hi, Paul.

    Reading this was like hearing an angel whisper to me. Thank you. 🙂 On the heals of my post about listening to my breath, this was especially meaningful.

    Namaste! gingaTao! Thankyou, Grace, most aptly named,

  13. i love this one, paul. it truly sings like a choir of angels

    there’s a moment which called this Ray Carver poem to mind:

    And did you get what
    you wanted from this life, even so?
    I did.
    And what did you want?
    To call myself beloved, to feel myself
    beloved on the earth.
    (from ‘Late Fragment’ in A New Path to the Waterfall)
    Cool, that is a similar thought, I will have to read the whole thing. Thankyou,

  14. actually, that is the whole thing…as i recall, his wife the poet tess gallagher found this in the pocket of his bathrobe after he died…
    Wow, that is wonderful, he must have asked himself and answered in the affirmative, i hope i can too,

  15. Loved it. This is also a favorite of mine. Hope you’re well.
    Harmonie, thankyou, i hope you are well.

  16. My dear friend, I have had some good news. My darling neice, she is a beauty and a bit of a tomboy, very athletic, 17, just finished her chemotherapy treatments for Hodgkins lymphoma and got an all clear…now she goes through the radiation for 12 weeks or so. Dang man, I mean 17. She graduated though in a wig… lol I remember reading this piece of yours. You are a great writer Paul, you have a gypsy voice that grinds stained glass to sand.
    Ahh, it’s in the genes F.G. Tough, smart, strong, cool, and thankyou,

  17. itz great to see so much w/one’s eyes closed and never hearing a sound…
    Thankyou, that is a lovely comment,

  18. Ummmm…. they’ve just copied and pasted my comment, haha… seems like they had absolutely nothing original to say?

  19. Ohhh, thank((((((((((((((((((((((you)))))))))))))))))) and sorry I was a mile away, sorry, this is the problem they are so tricky. I will just go back to deleting every bozononhumanoid that links to somewhere dodgy no matter what they say. I was, three or four a week but that one was sneaky, please forgive me,

  20. to me, this is the mot beautiful thing you’ve ever written. at least that i have read.
    there are so many details, the deep rhythmic description of the moments unfolding. the first and last tied together so sensationally. and like i said the little things you add here “whirlywinding someone home” …”snore his dream”…” is always warm and slow, fast and hot and though you may close your eyes you may never close your ears” okay i guess if i quote much more, i’ll have quoted nearly it all. but i just find this piece immaculate, deep, sensual, ahh, all the things i love.

  21. no ooh, can i comment again? haha, i meant to also tell you that i like the present tense and how you send the reader through the concept, the moment, the look around. i have not myself, mastered this style of prose, its just powerful to me
    Thankyou Mrs Ott, you can comment as many times as you like. The first person present tense can be a powerful device,

  22. […] was dead by the time Squires got back to Brisbane carrying the suitcase containing both the film and the fifteen […]

  23. paul, you should link this to the podcast and vice versa yes?

    this is such a marvelous dreammy peace piece sleepy time sigh

  24. […] Listen by gingaTao […]

  25. Speechless.

  26. i remember the 1st time i read this piece, inspiring.
    that tears of joy in full concurrance and acceptance of attributes of sound. that it starts with Listen. and ends with God. whatever it means to u or 2 me. 2 me it is
    the fullness of sound (and balance of silence) that is so beautifully made. wonderful
    as always and is classically modernly timelessly important

  27. Here’s another endorsement. If you don’t own The Puzzle Box, you are missing out.

  28. Oh. My. God. I know I have read this before, and there is even a comment by me here above which I left two years ago, but Paul,
    I was almost in a trance because of this piece right now. This is easily one of my top favourites by you. So beautiful, so amazingly beautiful, this transported me into that inner realm of calm and silence, the one you hear only when you stop thinking, only when someone calls for your attention, like the first word here. Listen.

    I was with a friend of mine just now, it was 2 AM and the whole city was closed. We were both hungry. And so I took us to the only open thing – some super expensive luxury hotel, and had such a beautiful meal over there in such an exquisite and an aesthetic environment with beautiful Mozart rolling in the background, that I said to him after the meal that today I am actually really happy after a long time – just because of that experience. And reading this piece just after coming back was the perfect desert to end the day. Thanks!

  29. This is stunningly beautiful and wise and sweet and I’ve always thought that sound travels better on a cold night. Remember you did the experiment via twitter. I will second Bryan Borland with a strong recommendation that anyone who reads this blog would be a six pack short of a slab if they didn’t buy The Puzzle Box. And if you can afford too, the limited edition hard copy, which I have no doubt will be a collectors item one day. Support the poet who supports you with exquisite words of wisdom and ‘pluperfect’ poohetry (that’s a Winnie the Poohism). The bloggosphere misses you!!!!!! especially me.

  30. Like a trance-inducing prayer.

  31. […] Listen. (from The Puzzle Box) by Paul Squires aka GingaTao (11/19/63-7/28/10) July 30, 2008 at 6:53 pm | […]

  32. […] Source of poem: gingatao […]

  33. oh Paul wherever you are it’s rainy tonight inside and out and I’m rereading this and the comments…it’s hard to believe that you published this and 2 years later almost to the day you are gone and then my mother and yes, you can answer in the affirmative, you were and are beloved…

  34. Hey Paul, miss you

  35. […] “… And though you may close this book forever and never read another word, wordless the world ….  Click on these words and read the whole amazing thing he says. […]

  36. […] cordially invite you to check out his poetry on his site  (one of my favorites, Prayer and another Listen which you can read here and Listen which you can hear here ) or mine (search for Paul Squires) and to join a celebration, a […]

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