How A Secret Sounds

Weekly Writing Challenge:  The Sound of Blogging

Some days I cannot resist a challenge.  My English teacher in high school drilled iambic pentameter into our heads.  I think perhaps this might have made him proud.

"The Moon is Up"  by Millais

“The Moon is Up” by Millais (Photo credit: Martin Beek)

Sounds of a Secret

Somewhere there’s noise lost deep inside my soul,

A secret sunk and buried far below.

So long ago concealed and left to die

But wishing from the depths to rise and fly,

To split the heavens wide with howling cry.

And though I try to stuff up all the cracks

A train comes rolling fast on trembling tracks

Rattling, clacking, clattering through the dark

It rocks my bones, and shakes the shivering ground

It quakes the earth and thunders all around

To warn at every crossing where it’s bound.

The whistle is staccato, hooting, sharp –

A jangling, jarring blast to pierce my heart.

My fists are clenched, my knees are drawn up tight

Until the sounds are swallowed by the night.

And there my secret still lies bound in chains

Sweet silence in the aftermath remains.

I sleep and wake and sleep again and dream

Of how to smother sounds in shrouds of pain.

Sounds and Smells and Buttons

She is awake, but not yet ready to open her eyes. She hears the magpies on the back lawn where they often choose to have their morning arguments; complaining, scolding, squawking, and then flapping off in mad little bird snits.

She takes a deep breath of the fresh fall air, and detects just the smallest hint of wood smoke, all that remains of last night’s fire pit party next door. No echoes this morning of the teenage shouts and laughter. She imagines all of them blissfully sleeping in.

The clock radio buzzes and blasts out a bar or two of some inane music she can’t identify because her hand is so quick to reach up and silence it. There are more buttons to push, so she rolls out of bed. Computer button, coffee pot button, light switches, button to pull out to turn the shower on.

The shampoo smells like apples, the body wash like cranberries and the bar of soap like peaches. Then she spritzes the tub and tiles with something that smells like oranges. Thank God the coffee still smells like coffee.

There are still more morning buttons to push – the one on her electric toothbrush, the one on her blow dryer, the button on the garage door opener, and the one she can press to start her car if the mood strikes her.

Her hand soap has some kind of yogurt name and comes out foamy from a pump. It smells like summer. Her perfume smells like spider webs when she first puts it on. She knows this is a ridiculous thing to think, but there the thought is anyway. The scent mellows in a minute or two to something like a red door in the sunshine.

Her life is a strange parade of sounds and smells and buttons, she thinks. From habit she has been relatively quiet getting ready, although her husband is out of town for several more days, and she could have been singing at the top of her lungs and dancing on the table if she wanted to. Best not to get into that habit she supposes. Time to leave for work. No button to beam her there and back. But it’s Saturday, and there won’t be much traffic. She can breathe in the vanilla scent of her car deodorizer and push the buttons on the radio. Woot. And all day long she will have in the back of her mind that the next three days she is off.

She thinks it would have been really funny if the Plinky prompt for today had asked her to describe her life using nothing but sounds and smells and buttons. Of course it doesn’t do that, but she decides she will write about those weird things anyway.

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Sounds in the Night

Wake up Jason!


JA-SON! WAKE UP! I hear something!

What do you hear? Shit. What was that?

I know! I mean, I DON’T know! What is it?

It sounds like – something in pain.

A wild animal?

In the house?

Oh God. How is that even possible?

It’s not.

Then what is making that god-awful sound? WAIT! Don’t get out of bed and leave me here all alone!

Don’t you want me to find out what it is?

Yes! No! Crap! Wait, I’m coming with you!

It’s louder out here in the hallway.

Oh geeeez…..

Let go of my arm, you’re giving me bruises.

Sorry. OW! Don’t stop suddenly like that!

I think it’s coming from the guest room. It sounds like something is dying.

WHAT?? Your mother is in there! Somebody is killing her!!

Shit, would you calm down? I’m going to open the door.

Oh my god oh my god oh my god!

She’s fine. There’s nobody in there but her.

But that horrible moaning –

She’s snoring.

Snoring? That is the sound of SNORING?

What can I say.

That’s just so freaking weird. Who snores and sounds like they’re being strangled?

My mother does, obviously.

Man. Should we wake her up?

No, let’s just go back to bed.

I don’t know if I can get back to sleep, my heart is still pounding.

I know, I can hear it.

How can you hear anything over that God awful racket?

It’s difficult.

Okay, well, goodnight.

Too late for that.

Right. Do we have any earplugs?


How much does it cost to get a sound proof door?

Shut up and go to sleep. And don’t say anything about this to my mother in the morning, okay?

Okay. I won’t. Although that will be hard. Hey, wait a minute, I don’t hear it anymore! I don’t hear anything at all! Jason, do you think she’s stopped breathing? Jason? JA-SON!


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