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27 September 2022


Sounds of Silence

We came together for the new season of Writing for Wellbeing in mid-September, a mixed group of welcome returnees and new starters, fresh from summer and eager to pick up our pens. It’s always great to meet new writers from around the country and indeed the globe; and the existing WFW ‘crew’ enfolded them into our group swiftly and warmly.

Perhaps surprisingly for a class usually occupied with words, we began our latest journey together, after a quick free write, reflecting on silence.

A good way to get writing on a new theme is word association: so we made lists of any and all words that came to mind when we thought about ‘silence’ and about ‘sound’. We then read Rukiya Khatun’s poem Silence Itself, which prompted more reflections in the group about the dark and light qualities of being quiet.

Armed with plenty of inspiration, we headed off to create our own original pieces, which turned out to be populated with a varied cast, including an astronaut and a new mother, a singing child and various seekers of silence. We travelled from space to the garden to the soft shingle beach.

I love this group and can’t wait to hear what they write next. Here are a couple of pieces created on the day.



The Memory of Gunfire by Charles Barker-Benfield 


The memory of gunfire, now still at midnight; 

The crack of a flare, floating silently downwards. 

An order, whispered in the hour before dawn; 

The chatter of birds, not ready yet to sing.
The comfort of prayer, the promise of plainsong; 

Longing for sleep but too soon for a ceasefire. 

The last post is sounded, is it time now for peace? 



Robin’s Song by Lala Birchak


I watched the Robin perched confidently on the topmost branch of the apple

tree; red breast like a joyful balloon, expanding and contracting with each


And all around a deep stillness, a holy silence, a pause, before the next

inevitable moment, the silence broken by that first note.

And then it came; the sweetest sound imaginable; notes dancing on the breeze

as a glorious melody pierced the air.

I stood and listened, in awe, as Robin proudly proclaimed his presence to the

world. With every joyful note he seemed to be saying:

“Here I am. I am Robin. This is my song. This is who I am.”

And in that moment, I understood. I finally understood. Life really was that

simple. I thanked him for his gift that day and smiled as I watched him fly away.

Photo by Jan Meeus on Unsplash


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