Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Hans Ostrom: "Mum Is the Word"

The League of Quiet Persons meets
monthly. Its quarters are a cavernous
warehouse away from traffic. Its
business is not to discuss business.
Minutes are read silently and tacitly approved.
Members listen to rain argue with corrugated
iron, a furnace with itself. Glances
are learnéd. It is not so much refuge
from noise the members seek in such company
as implicit permission not to speak,
not to answer or to answer for,
not to pose, chat, persuade, or expound.

Podium and gavel have been banned,
indeed are viewed as weaponry.
A microphone? The horror.
Several Quiet Persons interviewed
had no comment. A recorded voice
at the main office murmured only, “You
have reached the League of Quiet
Persons. After the tone, listen.”

"Mum Is the Word" by Hans Ostrom. Published by Lullwater Review, December 2003.

Photography credit: Untitled image of an abandoned industrial building in Red Hook, Brookyn, New York, by (originally color).


  1. My thanks to those of you who pointed out my typo. You don't like "gravel" substituted for "gavel"? Can't imagine why(!). Correction made.

  2. Thanks so much for featuring my poem.

    1. My pleasure and privilege. Thanks for a great poem! Keep writing!


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