Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Listen to my silence
that murmurs through these leaves
listen to this unwritten song.

Much is heaped between these lines
risen without mouth
silted up in the underground.

Listen to my paper-thin silence
that is gone with the wind
through the trees.

Hear my voice
at the curve of your mouth

Jos Steegstra

Reading this poem reminded me of my first meeting with Jos in an Edinburgh pub one lunchtime. It was a chance meeting at the bar and we struck up a conversation. Before long we were on our fourth pint of strong Scottish beer. At that time I was working on some paintings and he asked if he could see them, so we staggered out of the pub and up the road to my flat, stopping to buy a bottle of whisky on the way. But when we got to the door I realised I had left my keys inside. I rang the bell expecting one of my flatmates to be at home, but no-one came, so, under the influence of the drink, and because I knew that the lock wasn't very secure, I took a step back and gave the door an almighty thump with the base of my boot. Jos looked aghast as I did this, but not half as aghast as the poor girl who had arrived that day from America to visit one of my flatmates and had been fast alseep alone in his room when I began ringing the doorbell. She was just about to reach the door when it suddenly flew open in front of her. She screamed, and Jos just stood there clutching the bottle of whisky, looking totally bemused.