Charles Harper Webb
Treacherous as trap door spiders,
they ambush children's innocence.
"Why is there g h in light? It isn't fair!"
Buddha declared the world illusory
as the p sound in psyche. Sartre
said the same of God from France,
Olympus of silent letters, n'est -ce pas?
Polite conceals an e in the same way
"How are you?" hides "I don't care."
Physics asserts the desk I lean on,
the brush that fluffs my hair,
are only dots that punctuate a nullity
complete as the g sound in gnome,
the c e in Worcestershire.
Passions lurk under the saint's bed,
mute as the end of love.
They glide toward us, yellow eyes
gleaming, hushed as the finality
of hate, malice, snake.
As easily predict the h in lichen,
as laws against throttling rats,
making U-turns on empty streets.
Such nonsense must be memorized.
"Imagine dropkicking a spud,"
Dad said. "If e breaks off
your toe, it spoils your potato."
Like compass needles
pointing north, silent letters
show the power of hidden things.
Voiced by our ancestors,
but heard no more, they nudge
our thoughts toward death,
infinity, our senses' inability
to see the earth as round,
circling the sun in a universe
implacable as "Might Makes Right,"
ineffable as tomorrow's second r,
incomprehensible as imbroglio's g,
the e that finishes inscrutable,
the terrifying k in "I don't know."
Charles Harper Webb's Other Poems
Read this poem in other languages
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.
Comments about this poem (Silent Letters by Charles Harper Webb )
- गोजाननि खौरां, Ronjoy Brahma
- Let us believe, hasmukh amathalal
- Christmas Again, Katherine Nordhaus
- Money, Katherine Nordhaus
- Older, Frank Avon
- A question to seasons, Melikhaya Zagagana
- Languid leman, Melikhaya Zagagana
- Tweet-tweet! I Visited a Hamlet with a G.., Harindhar Reddy
- PURITY OF SNOW., Terry Collett
- What If You Had No Beliefs? NONE!, Mr. Nobody
Poem of the Day
- The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
- Daffodils, William Wordsworth
- Phenomenal Woman, Maya Angelou
- Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
- On the Pulse of Morning, Maya Angelou
- Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, Robert Frost
- Fire and Ice, Robert Frost
- All the World's a Stage, William Shakespeare
- Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, Dylan Thomas
- As I Grew Older, Langston Hughes
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
- Heather Burns
(31 October 1795 – 23 February 1821)
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
(13 September 1916 – 23 November 1990)
(7 May 1861 – 7 August 1941)
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)