“Be silent or let thy words be worth more than silence.” — Attributed to Pythagoras
Ships that pass in the night, and speak each other in passing,
Only a signal shown and a distant voice in the darkness;
So on the ocean of life, we pass and speak one another,
Only a look and a voice, then darkness again and a silence.
— Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Tales of a Wayside Inn, 1863
“Talk, talk, talk: the utter and heartbreaking stupidity of words.” — William Faulkner, Mosquitoes, 1927
“Music is pleasing not only because of the sound but because of the silence that is in it: without the alternation of sound and silence there would be no rhythm.” — Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island, 1955
Stars open among the lilies.
Are you not blinded by such expressionless sirens?
This is the silence of astounded souls.
— Sylvia Plath, Crossing the Water, 1971