The New Silence
There are times
when the heart closes down,
the metal grate drawn
the owner's footprints covered by snow.
Someone may come to peer through the glass,
but soon leaves.
Someone may come to clean, but turns away.
What is still inside
settles down for the darkness: clocks stop,
newspapers pass out of date.
The new silence goes unheard
under so many grindings of engines,
so many sounds of construction.
Only the three pigeons,
refusing to eat,
lower their heads and grieve.
--Jane Hirshfield in The Lives of the Heart