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Maggie Sawkins: a poem

A Pair of Small Ears

I have come to translate the silence.

I've brought paper and pencils

and a pair of small ears.

I ask you

not to disturb me

until the task is done.

First I will unwrap the ears

and place them face up

on the floor.

You will observe their strangeness

these tiny shallows

these bridges of bone.

They are waiting for the sound

of no sound –

nothing is permitted

not even the intermittent

buzz of a fly nor the tick of a wall.

You must soften your breath

learn patience –

shuffle along any vagrant thought.

Soon the ears will begin

to quiver – gently they will

pick up the pencils at their side.

Listen closely –

the word is about to be


Maggie Sawkins lives in Portsmouth and delivers creative writing projects in community settings.  Her live literature production "Zones of Avoidance" won the 2013 Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry. Her most recent poetry collection, Many Skies Have Fallen, is published by Wild Mouse Press. You can find her here:

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