Silent Film

Doors opened and shut,
the director shouted orders
through a bullhorn,
or babbled just
                              out of the frame.
A carpenter hammered flats nearby
for the next production.
All of this, and more,
while the actors blocked it out,
already living
in that small square of light
where silence reigned
like a tiny theatre for the deaf.

Now, almost a century later,
it's peaceful, far
from the center of action,
the last voice on the street
reduced to a whisper,
                              then gone.
Not even birdsong
as evening's opening credits
begin to roll.

Only the film,
shimmering out of a disc
thinner than sound,
characters moving
like fish in their gray element—
less than fish—
not a hiss, not a bubble,
not even a cry
from that dim world of silence
doubled by time.

More Poems by Kurt Brown