“After having struggled madly to solve all problems, after having suffered on the heights of despair, in the supreme hour of revelation, you will find that the only answer, the only reality, is silence.”
—Emil Cioran, On the Heights of Despair
What is the quality of silence?
What, is its quantity?
Is it really an answer?
John Cage in an elevator
Said there is no silence on earth
Even there he could hear
There may be silence
In outer space.
This silence, this only reality, Cioran talks of
Is not that
The silence some others will probably call the speech of God or Dhwani
And all that.
The sound(s) of silence he has the humility
And not the temerity
To call anything
The silence which is or is not an endless ocean
The silence which can’t be measured –
That is its quantity.
Some, it leads to facing life
Some, it leads to suicide
And many more reactions
Some never hear it
And some say it does not exist
Some hate it
When I saw the lotus-clad lady
Her full bust, her arms dewy with the first monsoon rain
The lake green behind her buxom behind
My heart was full of silence
The heart of darkness’ dove descended on me
I spoke in tongues cloven by drops of fire above my head
Was that the same silence
Or a lesser one?
Was it the supreme revelation?
I have my doubts
But I keep them to myself.
Unlike the single strand of her hair
I blew into the night air
Wishing for nothing, with my life failing
And the memory of the kiss
She gave me
That dissipated in the morning mist
Like a tendril of smoke.
I have my doubts
But I keep it to myself
That that was
The silence Cioran
Dr. Koshy A.V. is presently working as an Assistant Professor in the English Department of Carmel College, Autonomous, Bengaluru, India. He has many books, degrees, diplomas, certificates, prizes, and awards to his credit and also, besides teaching, is an editor, anthology maker, poet, critic and writer of fiction. He runs an autism NPO with his wife, Anna Gabriel. Two of his co-authored books published in 2020 were Amazon best-sellers in India and USA, namely, Wine-kissed Poems with Jagari Mukherjee and Vodka by the Volga with Santosh Bakaya.