Silence is the knot in my throat I have known since I was a child
of withheld tears running back inside
it has the taste of immeasurable pain that cannot be held by loving arms
so it gets swallowed back

It knows the sadness of others that has no river banks
and so it engulfs and floods the whole of you.

Silence has claimed love words from me too
and it has robbed me of moments of joy and connection
and sometimes of the possibilities of softening in a loving embrace.

Silence has no words
and yet fights to find them.

Silence is the silence of my mother
and of many generations before
Their cries have been inserted in my bones
like little precious and poisonous scrolls of a sacred text
That’s why my joints ache and I am being dismembered
so that they can be taken out and washed in tears.
So that the generations to come will not be bound
like Chinese women small feet.

Silence holds you captive
in a proper lady corset
compressing your breath
It keeps you safe, acceptable, small, convenient
when your lungs want to explode
in mad screams of truth.

Sometimes silence is self-inflicted
sometimes you offer it on a silver plate
like the head of John Baptist for speaking the truth
to your inner Salome who has seduced you
with her dance of the Seven Veils

the Seven Veils to the Sacred Naked Truth
the Seven Seals that secure the scroll
the Seven Seas you never travelled
the Seven Notes of your unsung song
the Seven Wonders in this woman body
the Seven Gates to the Underworld
it will take you your whole life force to climb back up
right when you think you are spent.

Sometimes silence robs you of your words
when you are asleep busy falling in love
or loving too much
in any moment of non vigilance
you leave your gate open
and the theft can happen.

Silence has many many faces
but it is never neutral.

Sometimes it has the compassionate eyes of someone holding your truth
Sometimes it has the beauty of the restful void
or of the dark womb where new things can be born.

Sometimes it has the punishing face of your mother
withdrawing from you and leaving you desperately alone
it is because you believed you deserve it
that you allow others to silence you and re-wound you.

But it is never neutral
it is always an act of consequences.

Also the choice of your own silence has consequences.
It leaves an empty space for all the other voices to occupy it
the very voices you are busy fighting.

In your head
the voices of the ones who have always thought they knew best what is good and bad for you
and you believed them!
And you keep hearing them and confusing yourself!

In the world
your voice is awaited
to join the chorus that will never be the same.

Silence is a blanket of ashes
on your vital fire.

Silence is the suicidal choice you make
when living your life feels too risky
and you would rather die than speak your truth

and you would rather die than kill someone else’s illusion
and so you are busy saving them
and condemning yourself.

Silence believes it is a protector
also when its sword tongue
could in fact set you free
and others.

Silence is a mantle of invisibility
when disappearing feels easier
than risking being seen
in your naked splendour
that you see as faulty, broken, shameful, undeserving.

Silence is an animal trap in the forest
that will not leave your bleeding leg free
unless you choose to run wild again.

Nicoletta Abbate

First published as guest blog by the Awakening Women Institute 2012

© Nicoletta Abbate

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Logo by Alessia Abbate @tildamilla

Painting "Siren" by . Thank you Chie for your kind permission!