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It is quiet there
in the great oak tree
by the brook, in the fields –

and why shouldn’t it be?
For it is morning –

No sound comes
to my ears
but there is no such thing
as silence.
So I listen
and I try to make out
the not-silence.

So I listen,
and then I hear –
the quiet whisper of the
leaves in the great oak tree
murmuring to the awakening world:
Stand strong and steady, strong and steady
like the oak tree itself.

I hear –
the gentle tumbling of the brook
over beyond that stretch of field
the clear waters leaping and gurgling as they chortle:
Fill with life, spirit, and love, life, spirit, and love –
like the vibrant brook itself.

I hear –
the soft rustle of the
tall, swaying grass
in the wind.
Gentle and peaceful, gentle and peaceful –
like the quiet grass itself.

I hear –
the faint calls of the birds
warbling in the trees
to the wan morning:
Wake up! Wake up! and hear our song –
their clear, silver voices rising to the sky in unified harmony.

And I hear –
the deep, golden sound
of bells
rolling low and unwavering
over the rippling fields:
Come, and start, this morning’s work – for there is much to do today! –
and I slide from the leafy
grasp of the oak
but I know I will come back tomorrow –
to listen to the rippling life of the world.

Kate Choi Not-Silence
Kate Choi, 12
Seoul, South Korea