Thursday, July 23, 2015

May Sarton: "Beyond the Question, 1"

The phoebe sits on her nest
Hour after hour,
Day after day,
Waiting for life to burst out
From under her warmth.

Can I weave a nest for silence,
Weave it out of listening,
Layer upon layer?

But one must first become small,
Nothing but a presence,
Attentive as a nesting bird,
Proffering no slightest wish,
No tendril of a wish
Toward anything that might happen
Or be given,
Only the warm, faithful waiting,
Contained in one’s smallness.
Beyond the question, the silence.
Before the answer, the silence.

"Beyond the Question, 1" by May Sarton. Text as published in Collected Poems 1930-1993 (W. W. Norton, 1993).

Art credit: Nesting phoebe, photograph by Lindell Dillon.


  1. Oh, this is beautiful. Much is contained in this smallness.

  2. I love the lines ,can I weave a nest for silence,weave it out of listening. Simply beautiful!


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