Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Sound of Fear

In an forum I read, the line, "What is the sound of fear" was given as a prompt for a poem. It seemed almost as enigmatic as the well known zen koan, "What is the sound of one hand clapping?" I thought of fear for several days. Here is my answer.

What is the sound of fear?
A shriek? And eek?
Whimpers? Moans?
Mute silence?

Once fear abounded
in dark forests,
outside the walls,
beyond the boundary.

Fear once frightened us,
paralyzed and choked us.
Now it is tame or neurotic
or entertainingly titillating.

Here we buy tickets
to be frightened on the rollercoaster,
to scream at movie monsters and disasters,
or to bungee jump to conquer terror.

Safe and arrogant old men
send boys to far away wars
where fear is not a game
but part of their day's work.

Soldiers hear the sound of fear
when their comrades vomit
their own teeth chatter
they hear the rattling breath of death.

1 comment:

Kass said...

This poem really grows in intensity.