The Silence- A Social Commentary

Updated on May 12, 2020
Lora Hollings profile image

Lora believes that great ideas worthy of discussion can be communicated most effectively through the arts.

What is the Silence?

The silence is the voice of truth about ourselves and our lives. It bears witness to our deeds even if others aren’t there to witness our cruelty or our indifference to the suffering of other sentient beings. It bears witness to the cold heartedness that lets us walk by without helping even as others call out in pain or from desperate need.

The following poem is telling us to act with a sense of urgency about our lives, the way we treat others and the way we treat our planet. To alter the course of our lives to become more caring and compassionate about others- not only humans but other species as well. To change our old habits and expand our consciousness to live in harmony with others and stop the mindless destruction of our home. Through selfishness and our negative emotions such as hate, vindictiveness, greed and a need to feel power over others, we have become oblivious to the needs of others and in the end it may very well cost us our lives as well.

The silence is telling us that our words in the places where we worship mean nothing if we just parrot what we hear and don't live by them. In the end, our society like a deck of cards will tumble and fall if we don't face the truth about ourselves and change our old ways of thinking and living, right now. And finally, the truth that we have denied for so long will at last be heard.

The Silence

There's a silence
deep in the hearts of men
that bears witness to all his deeds...

Even those who never contemplate
what little they've done
for their fellow man-
a testament to their purposeless life,
if they could just stop to hear the silence.

This silence it gently beckons to be heard
in the stark light of a street lamp
where a woman
and a child beg for food...

As a man beats a dog
and another indifferently looks on;
as a child is abused by his own parent,
a voice shrill
while hers is stilled.

After a gun volley has been fired
and so many lifeless bodies
can be seen;
children dazed,
cries muffled as the other
sounds compete for attention...
the silence
loud in the ears of the victims who cling to life
in a despairing moment to survive...
and yet it gets lost in
sound bites in a quick summary of today's news.

It can be heard
between the notes of a sorrowful dissonance
in a composition by Charles Ives-
between the cries of a child
drowned out by the sirens of the city's streets...

Between the cries of a dog
chained every day,
deprived of food and water
who has never known a day of kindness.

But the silence is too faint to the ears
of those deafened by the
hardening of their own hearts
and souls to their routine existence.

You can hear the silence if you walk
very early in the morning hours...
or very late at night.
It envelops the world as its atmosphere
and runs deep as a cavern all through the earth...

After a rain
which purges some of the stains
and always in the
sounds of gently remind us of its presence...

You can hear the silence
in a river flowing
or in a pause between the waves which hit the shore,
between the pulses of a heartbeat.

The silence which struggles to be heard
in the pauses of a rhythmical chant
at a sacred temple of humanity's past...
caught in a futile dance,
between the empty syllables of meaningless words.

And as a deck of cards so constructed-
to stand momentarily before
it tumbles and falls
in a precarious balance of contrived form...

It must last give way to the silence
which has been muted for so long
and at last it can be heard;
if there is still a soul
around to hear...
its words.

~ Lora Hollings

How Precious is the Time We Have

From this poignant song by Lamb, the lyrics go...

"How precious is the time we have. Are we not wise enough to give all we are? We have a chance to make a difference to our dying day."

Wise Enough by Lamb

I'm Going to find a Way to Say It

"I'm going to find a way to say it. Sing it from the tallest tree."

Maybe we all need to find another language. The language of peace and love. To live up to our human potential and be all that we can be.

Another Language by Lamb


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    • boxelderred profile image

      greg cain 

      2 months ago from Moscow, Idaho, USA

      I'm hoping so, too, Lora. Thank you for speaking out about all of it and urging that type of movement forward.

    • Lora Hollings profile imageAUTHOR

      Lora Hollings 

      2 months ago

      Greg, thanks for stopping by and I appreciate your comment. I'm hoping that we've reached a point where people see the necessity for real change and how they can contribute positively in creating a world where love, peace, cherishing nature, and saving our planet become our priorities.

    • Lora Hollings profile imageAUTHOR

      Lora Hollings 

      2 months ago

      Bill, thanks for reading my article. It's always nice to hear from you. You were fortunate to be raised by such caring parents who taught you to respect and value all the lives of those around you and to aid those who are oppressed, abused, or exploited and have no means to help themselves. Bless you Bill and take care.

    • Lora Hollings profile imageAUTHOR

      Lora Hollings 

      2 months ago

      I appreciate your comment on my article, Denise. I would say that the silence is good in this poem as well. It is a more profound silence. The silence is an awareness or mindfulness of the harm that we maybe doing. It asks us to stop and think before we act, to become more conscious of the existence of others and how are actions or our indifference maybe hurting those around us. The silence can lead to the truth, to a greater understanding if we are willing to open our minds and hearts and see how are old ways of thinking and behaving are harming others and destroying our planet. The legacy that we leave behind is up to us. We can change our lives for the better or we can continue to go down the same old destructive path and leaving generations to come with such a bleak future.

    • boxelderred profile image

      greg cain 

      2 months ago from Moscow, Idaho, USA

      I would say your words are apt for our times. Would that the right ones were listening, absorbing and acting on those words.

    • profile image


      4 months ago

      I simply will not ever understand indifference. I will never understand cruelty. I was raised by caring parents to care. I was raised by peace-loving parents to be peaceful, and yet to fight for what is right. There was no wiggle-room in those teachings. You fight for those who cannot fight for themselves, but you do all other things with love.

      Pretty simple really!

      Loved your message of truth.

      Be safe, my friend, and blessings to you always.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image

      Denise McGill 

      8 months ago from Fresno CA

      Actually, I love the quiet. We get so little of it anymore. Everywhere is bombarded with constant noise, but you make silence a sad and ominous thing. The thing that comes with the dark and end of life. I love the metaphor you used with the house of cards.



    • Lora Hollings profile imageAUTHOR

      Lora Hollings 

      10 months ago

      Thank you Swalia for the read and for commenting. I'm glad you found my poem thought provoking and liked the message. I hope that we can finally create a kind of world based on respect for each other and realize that we are more alike than different. Our future depends on us working together to solve our greatest challenges such as climate change and having enough resources to sustain life.

      "Men, for years now, have been talking about war and peace. But now, no longer can they just talk about it. It is no longer a choice between violence and nonviolence in this world; it's nonviolence or nonexistence. That is where we are today." -Martin Luther King Jr.

    • swalia profile image

      Shaloo Walia 

      10 months ago from India

      Thought provoking poem with a great message.

    • Lora Hollings profile imageAUTHOR

      Lora Hollings 

      10 months ago

      Thank you Mary for reading my article and for your wonderful comment. I’m deeply complimented that you found my poem meaningful and I hope that through art we can inspire more love and peace in our world.

      I think that this is a good quote to try and live by: "The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion and the will to help others.” -Albert Schweitzer

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      10 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      Lora, thank you. I must have been led here this morning as this confirmed what I woke up to, a realization to make my art help awaken our consciousness to our humanity.

    • Isykariman profile image

      Isykariman Biridlwanillah 

      11 months ago from Indonesia, Jakarta, and Japan, Osaka

      Great Poem!! Gives the fact about humans are..

    • Lora Hollings profile imageAUTHOR

      Lora Hollings 

      13 months ago

      Thank you Rham for your generous comment and I do agree with you about not speaking out against violence toward others and being indifferent to those who are suffering or in a situation that puts their lives at risk. This poem is about listening to our hearts rather than the noise all around us that serves to distract us and often times mutes a voice within us that is telling us to act with urgency to change the status quo if it causes suffering to others and to act on what we know to be right. As the poem says, "This silence it gently beckons to be heard in the stark light of a street lamp where a woman and a child beg for food…”

      The silence in the poem acts as a witness to mankind’s indifference of the suffering he has caused to others and his failure to address these wrongs. Sometimes we have to be silent in order to hear what our hearts and a greater truth is telling us what we need to do now to change our course which will only lead to destruction. Warm regards to you.

    • Astralrose profile image

      Rham Dhel 

      13 months ago from India

      Your poem speaks the truth and I love the message behind it. I believe that silence has its own place in our lives depending on the situation, but what is intolerable is silence towards violence of every form (whether violence against other people, nonhuman animals, to Earth itself). This is beautifully penned.

    • Lora Hollings profile imageAUTHOR

      Lora Hollings 

      22 months ago

      Thank you for dropping by Flourish and adding your insightful comment regarding my poem, "The Silence." I agree with you that some are more attuned to the suffering of others while others remain hardened and don't seem to care about the plight of others. They choose to be indifferent. The poem also tells us that if we could somehow just listen to what our hearts are telling us and not just what we hear on a superficial level, we could hear a more profound and urgent message and this is "The Silence," which bears witness to our actions, our thoughts, and everything about our lives. The Silence is urging us to wake up and listen to our greater humanity's plea, and to the voice deep within our hearts to alter our course for a greater one of living in peace, uniting our efforts in saving our planet and our resources, and a more compassionate existence for the good of all.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      22 months ago from USA

      Some of us are attuned to the suffering of others and can sense it almost innately while others seem hardened and don't want to know, as if another's suffering might make them weak. However, we all suffer in some manner, all creatures, all people, some of us more than others.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      What a beautiful poem Lora. Like many of the other commenters said, thank you for making me stop and think about the world around me. As I am sitting here in my big beautiful home, surrounded by my loving family, it is so easy to forget how truly blessed I am. It is so easy to just turn off the news or ignore an article about someone else suffering in the world simply because it makes me too sad. I don't want to be the type of person that ignores the cries of those in need. I want to be an example to my children of someone that has compassion enough to make a difference in the lives of those that are hurting. Your awesome hub reminded me of that today. Thanks a million. Keep up the great work!

    • MsAndreaRobinson profile image

      Andrea Robinson 

      4 years ago from California

      This is a great page! The poetry, music, comments, and even the links to the other topics.

      I find that spreading joy is one of the best ways to serve many levels of humanity. I agree that it's not necessary or helpful to look away every time there is something sad to see, but I also believe in keeping your spirits high enough to help cheer up someone else. I've had a few very interesting encounters this week with people who were suffering from very grave problems, and I didn't know it until after engaging them in conversation. Just talking and listening to people does so much to uplift. But the interesting thing about both of these encounters was that the other people uplifted me, too. There was a man with a dog who appeared to be living in his truck. The dog was blind, and I didn't have a dime on me, but he actually ended up giving me a bracelet that is still hanging in my car for good luck. Another, very friendly man, was very kind to me in a checkout line, and only later in the parking lot did he reveal that he had suffered from brain damage due to accident for years. As his story unfolded, I began to see the depths of problems his whole family experienced. But for some reason, he had cheered me up so much in the grocery store that I was in a really great mood, and before we knew it, we were both laughing at everything this man and his family had been through. I know that part of the reason I could accept and laugh with him was that I've had very similar dark moments of the soul and despair. I could immediately identify.

      It doesn't take much to uplift another. A kind word, a listening ear, and some human kindness go a long way - and it's reciprocal.


    • profile image

      Kim N 

      4 years ago

      Interesting point made about our primal emotions being so ego-centric. This mentality makes sense in a world where we must fend for ourselves as no one else will be watching our backs and it's eat or be eaten. But as we've progressed in society, depending on your worldview, it's no longer necessary for us to sacrifice others to meet our basic needs.

      I agree that our selfishness is very simply the cause of much of the suffering in the world. Rather than living life with empathy and open heart and mind, those who bring pain in the world only think of themselves.

      I am not deluded enough to believe that I am without blame. However I believe that self-awareness is the first step in bringing a change in the world. If we could all just self-assess and become more aware of our own biases and identify our own narrow-minded beliefs, the world may be a friendlier and brighter place.

      Thank you for sharing this. Great points to think about!

    • Kevin-Moore profile image

      Kevin Moore 

      4 years ago

      The significance of this poem should not be lost in the daily noise of our lives. "The Silence” eloquently expresses how many people tune-out the suffering of our fellow man and sentient beings. I'm guilty of this in my own daily life and it’s refreshing to be reminded of the sense of urgency that should be ever present in my mind. "The Silence” encourages us to be more caring and compassionate about others. I found myself reading this poem over and over. In fact, it's one of those rare gems that is timeless; as relevant yesterday as it is today and a message we should all carry with us in the future.

    • Jeolson profile image


      4 years ago from Champaign, Illinois

      Beautifully written poem! It's backed with a powerful message that the world is so much bigger than ourselves. I think so many people let themselves get caught up in it and it destroys their lives. It's senseless to use our jealousy or greed to feel we are better than others when really we are just the same. Difficult topic but you mastered it well!

    • profile image

      Kelly Sheldrick 

      4 years ago

      A very beautiful, yet very sad poem! You definitely have highlighted one of the biggest problems of the world today. People, most people, are to caught up in their own lives to stop, look and listen to what's going on around them, and those that do, often ignore what they see and hear, either out of fear or out of selfishness. Whatever the reason, it needs to change. Thanks for highlighting this, and reminding us of this.

    • profile image

      Jamie Adair 

      4 years ago

      This poem is very beautifully written. It's true that often times we get do caught up in the daily routine that is our lives that it is easy to by pass the suffering of others in a "let it be someone else's problem" kind of way.

       I think, in general, being more aware of your surroundings and living with more compassion is something we all should strive for. If everyone cared a little more about someone other than themselves our world would have a lot less problems.

      I agree with others than mentioned this post definitely tugs on a heart string in light of recent events.  Maybe someday humanity as a whole will truly understand the idea of peace.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Your images are sharp and clear and evoke strong emotions. The mental picture of a child stunned into silence after a round of gun fire, the silence between breaking waves, are all right on. I also like the wording of the silence that gets lost in the quick summary of sound bites, i.e something horrific or heroic is trivialized by quick and sensational explanations.

      What I’m getting here is that we should seek after more than just physical silence, but spiritual as well – a stillness of the soul. I’m looking forward to reading more of your words

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Wonderful! Really makes you think, especially with all that has happened recently. And sometimes we just get so busy with our own issues that we don't see, or don't want to see, what is going around us.

      And as humans we are obligated to help others when we see someone in need. And though there are those that are dishonest to get the help they don't need, don't let those bad few to turn away from the real ones that need it. Basically, go with your gut'll feel the need and you'll know it's right when you help them.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Beautifully written. It really hits home, and makes you rethink everything. And this is one of the reasons why I chose to get into the medical field, to do my part for humanity. And though I've been in the field for years and years, I'm still affected when I see any person who was beaten or assaulted, especially a baby or child. My heart just hurts.

      And as both my husband and I see the cruelty and unfairness in the world, we want our girls to see the reality and not just "deal" with it, but try to do something better for others. We always tell them that you do for others, but do NOT expect the same done to you, meaning, don't do something for someone to get a favor or good deed because you ARE a good person. As it is coming upon Thanksgiving, we, as a family, go and work at the soup kitchens or wherever they're serving meals to the homeless and those that can't afford one. We also on the weekends go out as a family and give out care packages to the needy and homeless. We buy and stock up on small necessities, package them into small bags and hand them out to whomever we see. We're raising our girls to be humanitarians and to realize that some people/families have just fallen on hard times. No judgment from us. It's not much, but I feel that every little bit helps, and it brings us joy to see someone smile because of our small gift.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Great post! Your poem is very thought provoking and full of meaning! This world is filled with so much pain and suffering. I pray that I never become numb and blind to the struggles of others. I know we're all guilty at one time or another of looking the other way because we feel we don't have the time, money, or resources to meet the need of someone else. But if we could all have more compassion in our hearts, I think the world we live in would look a lot different. What is kindness and compassion? Simply put, I think it's the ability to reduce the burdens of others. Jesus is a perfect example. Imagine if we all practiced the burden-reducing touch of Jesus to the people we find difficult to love. You don't have to be loud or flashy about it. You may not even need words. We all need to learn to answer the call to compassion!

    • profile image

      Kelly Knight 

      4 years ago

      I have to start off by saying that's a beautiful poem. You are so correct about is destroying people's lives and ourselves too. I use to be a jealous person, but now I'm with someone who teaches me to not be jealous and to hate people. People who hate on people are really jealous of them and are unhappy with their own lives. We need to remember not to take our lives out on other people. We really don't know what our words do to them once we leave.

    • SolveMyMaze profile image


      4 years ago

      What a truly thought provoking hub. The poem is actually one that becomes a lot more intense the more that you read it.

      I think in one form or another, everyone has had their ego bruised and it makes them colder towards others that have not done any wrong doing to you.

      With the terrible things going on in the world just now, we should be doing everything we can to help others, not hinder them. That just makes the fight against the true evil that much harder. By creating conflict amongst ourselves, we're actually hurting each other.

      Thanks for sharing such a great hub :)

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Hello, I'm Lily from Portugal, I have many friends in the whole Europe, especially in France and your poem "The silence" just remembered those terrible things in Paris few weeks ago. I know, that we must care about everyone and about every country, but still, when you have some friends in this place, which was attacked, I think it's normal, that you feel worse because you're worrying about your friends, who live here.

      Also I would like to say, that you are so right, that through our selfishness and our more primal emotions such as hate, jealousy, greed and a need to feel power over others, we are destroying the lives of many and even our own. It's very good thought for me, as hate, jealousy and greed are very common feelings between people, and sometimes it's hard to control it, bet we all must to do it, otherwise - we will destroy each other very quickly.

      Thank you, Lora Hollings, you made me stop and think about everything what's happening in the world.


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