Listen With a Still Heart

What The Dog Perhaps Hears by Lisel Mueller


If an inaudible whistle

blown between our lips

can send him home to us,

then silence is perhaps

the sound of spiders breathing

and roots mining the earth;

it may be asparagus heaving,

headfirst, into the light

and the long brown sound

of cracked cups, when it happens.

We would like to ask the dog

if there is a continuous whir

because the child in the house

keeps growing, if the snake

really stretches full length

without a click and the sun

breaks through clouds without

a decibel of effort,

whether in autumn, when the trees

dry up their wells, there isn’t a shudder

too high for us to hear.

 What is it like up there

above the shut-off level

of our simple ears?

For us there was no birth cry,

the newborn bird is suddenly here,

the egg broken, the nest alive,

and we heard nothing when the world changed.

 They miss the whisper that runs

any day in your mind,

“Who are you really, wanderer?”

and the answer you have to give

no matter how dark and cold

the world around you is:

“Maybe I’m a king. —  William Stafford

Your dreaming self seeks to tell you something your waking ears will not hear. — Jacqueline Carey

Above all, he learned from it how to listen, to listen with a still heart, with a waiting, open soul, without passion, without desire, without judgment, without opinions. — Herman Hesse, Siddhartha “May hearing enter him and the exactness of every heart that speaks to him. No one is born wise. To listen well is to speak well.
He who listens is a master of what is good.
Splendid is listening to one who hears!
Listening is better than all else.
It manifests perfect love.” ~ The Wisdom of Ptahhotep
ca.2200 BCE

 How many times have you encountered the saying, ‘When the student is ready, the Master appears?’ Do you know why that is true? The door opens inward. The Master is everywhere, but the student has to open his mind to hear the Masters voice. – Robert Anton Wilson



6 thoughts on “Listen With a Still Heart

  1. An extraordinary poem. I love these kinds of thought-provoking poems that wake me up to the things I have had my eyes closed to, or knew but didn’t know I knew. Great collection of quotes to accompany it also- a wonderful compilation.


    1. Thanks Emma, I’m glad you enjoyed it and found it thought-provoking; I felt exactly the same way when I came across that poem! You’re so right about how we have our eyes (and ears!) closed to some things. I love putting these blog posts together and comments like yours make it worthwhile 🙂


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