Listening Poems 

Please enjoy this small selection of listening-themed poems by Listener's Unite creator, Linda Eve Diamond, and the poem, Today I Will Listen, by Marva McIntosh, founder of I Love to Listen Day. Please be sure to also visit the Prompts page for 10 Poetry Prompts for writing listening-inspired poems!

 

The Apple in the Room
By Linda Eve Diamond

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The Listening Room, 1952 by René Magritte 

~ www.renemagritte.org ~

Should we talk about  

the apple in The Listening Room?

 

What’s behind it? What the…?

Curious, we hunger for a sound bite.

 

 

We make guesses and confirm them 

with ourselves. We assume it’s something 

 

about pushing at “inside-the-box” boundaries,

what the apple conceals, what the apple reveals

 

that the apple is giant, that this is a doll’s room,

that the artist has something or nothing to say

 

that the artist wants us to be amused, bemused,

quieted, disquieted, completely knocked off-center 

 

pushing our imaginations to the edge of that box

where we, feeling claustrophobic, hit the wall 

 

thinking there must be one right way to see it

and we grind at the apple, mashing it up

 

into old-fashioned applesauce 

still never getting to the core…

 

 

There’s no getting around it. The apple

is wedged in. It isn’t going anywhere. 

 

The apple has the floor and all we can do is

sit in the shadows of the mystery—and listen. 

____________________________________

 

For another Magritte-inspired apple poem, click here to see This Is Not an Apple Poem. 

 

The Modern Art of Conversation
By Linda Eve Diamond

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Conversation, once a high art,
has changed in favor of simplicity. 

Seems the art of blending led to clashing.
Perspective was a bore.

The many styles and points of view
confused things even more.

Discourse moved to smooth, quick lines
then simplified more over time.

Welcome to the gallery
of modern conversation.

I’m in the blue room
with all the blue people.

Water horizon and sky wash 
into a nearly solid blue.        

The plaque on the wall refers to a ship 
which must be the same blue as the sea.

The lighthouse and the beacon, too,
I presume are the same blue hue. 

Undoubtedly, shipwrecks are rampant
in the blue, blue, blue, blue world.

The room of reds is no better
red folding into red upon red upon red.

In the purple room, 
an artist true to light

paints only colors true to life
but still only the life of purple.

Thus, Woman with Teacup
shows only a floating purple cup.

To those who love purple,
this is the only place to be.

Blues gather with blues.
Reds with reds. Greens with greens.

In each room, the solid blend 
of voice and vision  

blinded by the beauty of the color
blind to anything missing at all.

In fact, they say the other rooms
do nothing but distract.

Speeches all begin and end:
I know I’m preaching to the choir.

That phrase echoes through the gallery
which is, incidentally, falling apart.

The halls are dark and dangerous.
Common grounds are never cared for.

When these patrons meet in the hall,
tempers flare with no provocation at all.

Each room is heated with endless talk
that the art of conversation may be lost. 

 

A Thin Line
By Linda Eve Diamond

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Created from a vintage Woodcut by Josef Eberz "Nächtlicher Zirkus" (Night Circus), Germany 1920 (Would you like to see the artist's original image? Click here.)   

The sun is setting and we stand apart

trembling, on a tightrope in the dark.

 

We both have our stories about how

we ended up here, how the chasm

 

widened, how the divided states

fractured, how we became small

 

warring countries within our own

small circles, how common ground

 

narrowed to this thin line, why

the stakes are raised every day.

 

 

But today, we’re trying 

to see each other again

 

to recognize the familiar stranger

taking tenuous steps on a thin line

 

where we juggle topics and avoid

the flaming hoops, at least for now

 

gravity here centers on lightness 

but the light is growing dim

 

and we’re checking our safety nets 

again, looking at our phones.

 

 

We yawn with clownish exaggeration.

Well, look at the time. We say it’s late.

 

Maybe it’s early but it feels late so early

these days, in the noisy, dizzying haze

 

where we’re not the expert acrobats

we’d need to be to get us to safety

 

and neither one of us likes this routine

or the circus that’s sprouted up around us.

__________________________________________
 

A Thin Line was honored with the National Federation of State Poetry Societies Founders Award and published in Encore: Prize Poems 2021. 

 

The Doorway 
By Linda Eve Diamond

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Trapped inside myself, I heard your voice,
the gentle offering you placed in the doorway.

You offered to listen. I opened up just a little.
You stepped so softly… as if entering
a place of prayer.

You didn’t look for a light switch,
bring a flashlight, open the blinds,
or try in any way to illuminate
my space.

You sat quietly beside me
in the dark.

I talked in stops and starts
becoming smoother as you listened.

You didn’t jump in, preach or rant,
judge me, entertain or chant.

I unburdened, articulated,
and could feel my breath… slowing.

You didn’t tweet, text, check your phone,
or update your online status to “listening.”

I don’t know when the door blew open,
but a natural light filled the room.

Through that generous, open space,
stirred a breeze of fresh, breathable air.

As you listened, my thoughts began to clarify,
opening to a knowing voice deep inside.

You helped me find my voice,
my center and my smile.

You say you didn’t do a thing.
You simply listened.

Thank you for all that you didn’t do
and all that you did by listening.

Find audio of this poem on the International Day of Listening's Listening Moments page, where you will also find other "listening moments" and an invitation to submit your own (which can be poetry, music, nature...).

For more poetry on the beauty of listening,, please visit http://LindaEveDiamond.com

 

Today I Will Listen
By Marva Shand-McIntosh

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Today I will listen

Without interrupting

Without judging

Without second guessing

Without gazing

Without rehearsing

Without discounting

Without filtering

Without correcting

Without contradicting

Today I will just listen

Today I will listen

With attention

With humility

With respect

With patience

With understanding

With awe

With gladness

With empathy

With warmth

With gratitude

With reverence

Today I will just listen.

The author of Today I Will Listen, Marva Shand-McIntosh is the founder of I Love to Listen Day

I Love to Listen Day (in May) and the International Day of Listening (in September) are two annual celebrations of listening.

Find more listening celebrations, organizations, and other listening connections on the Listening Links page. 


Be sure to also visit the new Poetry Prompts and An Invitation to Share pages!


Thank you for listening!