By Bill Holm 1943–2009 Bill Holm
Earbud—a tiny marble sheathed in foam   
to wear like an interior earring so you   
can enjoy private noises wherever you go,   
protected from any sudden silence.   
Only check your batteries, then copy   
a thousand secret songs and stories   
on the tiny pod you carry in your pocket.   
You are safe now from other noises made   
by other people, other machines, by chance,   
noises you have not chosen as your own.   
To get your attention, I touch your arm   
to show you the tornado or the polar bear.   
Sometimes I catch you humming or talking to the air   
as if to a shrunken lover waiting in your ear.

Poem copyright ©2008 by Bill Holm, whose most recent book of poems is "Playing the Black Piano," Milkweed Editions, 2004. Poem reprinted by permission of Bill Holm.

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Poet Bill Holm 1943–2009

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Subjects Arts & Sciences, Music, Social Commentaries, Popular Culture

Poetic Terms Free Verse


Poet and essayist Bill Holm was born on a farm north of Minneota, Minnesota. He is the author of several poetry books, including The Chain Letter of the Soul: New and Selected Poems (2009), Playing the Black Piano (2004), and The Dead Get by with Everything (1995). His books of prose include The Music of Failure (2010), Windows of Brimnes: An American in Iceland (2008), The Heart Can Be Filled Anywhere on Earth (2001), . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Arts & Sciences, Music, Social Commentaries, Popular Culture

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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