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Melita Schaum


Listen to Melita Schaum read "Silence in Spring":

Silence in Spring

The role of the performer is not to produce sound
but to listen to it . . . to discover sound in silence.
                                              — Toru Takemitsu

The swallows are back, racing their ghosts, and the barn
is resonant with their pizzicato,
the hired man repairing last season’s roost,
tanned, whistling amid the artwork
of old bird shit and another spring.

Here April’s not a month
but an inflection:
fog rubbing the window, hawk’s signature,
sun on the kissable cleavage of these hills—

already words get in the way
of the sensual green
shuddering of trees,
the faraway yell of a calf, song
of the world worlding itself
in the crow’s indifferent chuckle,
in the great purr of air off this blue ocean—

beneath brilliance
language bleaches and warps
into something else:

a sag-beamed light-freckled emptiness 
where the mind flies, racing its shadow— 
promising, as silence does, something more to come.



Melita Schaum's poetry, fiction, and essays have appeared in such journals as Denver Quarterly, Colorado Review, Notre Dame Review, Literary Review, New Letters, Briar Cliff Review, Gulf Coast, and PRISM International. She received her MFA from Stanford University and teaches creative writing and modern literature at the University of Michigan-Dearborn.
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