AWOL Week #8 Responses



This week the subject was silence. Silence in the outdoors is rare and magical. Between people, silence is often charged with words that have not been spoken. In ‘Wolf Hall’ Hilary Mantel writes:

“You can have a silence full of words. A lute retains, in its bowl, the notes it has played. The viol, in its strings, holds a concord. A shrivelled petal can hold its scent, a prayer can rattle with curses; an empty house, when the owners have gone out, can still be loud with ghosts.”

The task was to write a piece about silence, but without using the world ‘silence’ in the writing itself. Though, as usual, writers could bend the rules any way they liked.


I wonder if…. By jodi glass

I wonder if….

I wonder if I could appreciate birds singing, cars humming past, people laughing in the sun.

but the need of rock music, to drown out the outside

when anxiety overtakes


an empty house, when eyes first open, thought finding, brain restarting,

the urge to find sound, overtaking and all consuming 

instincts find YouTube, In the first five minutes. 


A basic need, making breakfast, a chance to plan your day

silence is crushing, an eighties playlist will do



silence seems to be an enemy, even as a child, the adult in me needs 

noise, distracting,

I wonder what life would be, if outside’s soundtrack was a peaceful thing.


A way to relax


wondering what it would be like to be at peace with your own brain. 

jodi glass


 🎼🎶🎵🎶 stone.   by Kathy Low

 🎼🎶🎵🎶 stone.  

                     The noise in my mind

              and a cancelling find.


                     A stone in my hand

              and the lie on the land 

              and the earth & the ground

              and the sense I am found

              and the words drain away

                      through my bones to the stones

              and the ceaseless strings of

                      the half formed notions

                      seep into my skin

              and the cool rainy grass

                      dissolves all the trash

              and the stillness of stone

              and the chillness alone

              and the tiredness of clamour 

              and the hammer of heart

                      starts to slow

              and I open my eye 

              and the sheltering sky

              …and the fragrance of pine

              ….and the words are depleted

              …..and the manic defeated

              ……and my sense

                     becomes less

              ……..and my senses 

                       breathe out

              ……….and my head space expands

              ………..and I’m one with the land

              …………and a kind of………



Kathy Low


The midnight-black cold fear of life-loneliness    by lotty

The midnight-black cold fear of life-loneliness

I’ve found myself been stalked by the figure of cold heartless shadow of fear, of life-loneliness as they walk behind me draped in their midnight black cloak of misery and despair. Trying hard to think: don’t let them bother you; act as if you don’t care, because you know deep down inside your heart that yes, you deserve to be loved

just like everybody else. To me it means more than gaining wealth.


It is sometimes difficult to keep oneself on the road of positive thinking, so on the bad days I’ve found myself sinking into the cold, clammy grip of herself-hatred. Each time one dares to glance at her own pale, white reflection, on which there are only one or two features where she can find joy and pleasure, such as her bright brown eyes, also copper-brown curly hair. I believe when God was handing out those types of genes he was fair enough. It’s hard to keep this train of good feeling on track, knowing the shadow of fear is not far from my back.

by lotty,  May 12th 2020


The Crack in the Wall of Sound   by Peter Marshall

The Crack in the Wall of Sound  

Being a little pipsqueak, I was able to scrape through the crack in the wall of sound, snapping upright on the other side. 

Away from the social whir, the tempo changes as I scream along the gravelly path.  I look swish whilst splashing pounds with the quack doctor conducting his roaring trade.  He tries beating about the bush like a cuckoo between the hours.  We don’t click together.  So, rattled, I beat a hasty retreat from the gushing fiddles he jigs in his fairy ring.  A swallow at his tap leaves me with a rasp tinging my taste buds. 

The smashing fresh air shelters a duet of sun-dogs whilst a quartet of yellowhammers shatter rock.  In the lift, zipping down to the bay, a band of bluebells obscures the keys.  I posted my note with a stamp on the way to shoehorn myself into the row-boat.  Over the bow the trumpet fish fanfares a trio of swordfish getting whooped in a ding-dong, thinking it a blast that none croak.

And all I hear with a conch at my ear is the distant vacuum of space. 

2020 08 13     Peter Marshall


The Lure   by V. Rivers

The Lure  


Silk’s a stolen thing.

A fig devoured before it yields to leaf litter

a blue tit beak dipped in doorstep milk.


And this lure has a cream to it.

Silken on skin– but

the hard edge of silk.


Is this offering an unguent

to silkenside quartzite

or a call to rub against the nap?


Melt into this marshmallow root

and we voyage

down the throat of an orchid.


V. Rivers


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