Mask Intimacy


They Accuse Me of Not Talking
by Hayden Carruth

North people known for silence. Long
dark of winter. Norrland families go
months without talking, Eskimos also,
except bursts of sporadic eerie song.
South people different. Right and wrong
all crystal there and they squabble, no
fears, though they praise north silence. “Ho,”
they say, “look at them deep thinkers, them strong
philosophical types, men of peace.”  But take
notice please of what happens. Winter on the brain.
You’re literate, so words are what you feel.
Then you’re struck dumb. To which love can you speak
the words that mean dying and going insane
and the relentless futility of the real?

Hayden Carruth, “They Accuse Me of Not Talking” from Collected Shorter Poems 1946-1991. Copyright © 1983, 1992 by Hayden Carruth.

%d bloggers like this: