Sounds of a City

At night

when the people have returned to

their dwellings,

the city rests.

Never completely asleep.

Like the jungle cat, one eye open,

alert.

 

You can hear a city breath.

Late at night, you can hear the

moans of the buildings,

creaks of sidewalks

cooling in the night.

Hear a piece of newspaper,

driven by the night breeze,

scrape across the street.

 

A traffic sign,

suspended on a wire,

taps out a rhythm.

Clang, clang…clang;

changing rhythm

as the wind rises and falls.

 

A dog barks.

A lone car rambles by.

 

Once I drove through a small

town.

It was late at night.

If it were not for a blinking

red light signaling

the town’s volunteer fire department’s

alarm box,

I would have believed the town had

died.

 

There was no one out to hear the

town breath,

to feel its rhythm of life.

My passing car carried its voice

away with it;

no one was there to listen.

 

I sometimes wonder if somewhere in

that town,

in some home,

someone laid in his bed

listening.

But I know this was not true.

I could feel the silence.

 

Cities need people.

Remove people from the streets

and no one listens.

Listen to your town.

When no on listens,

the city stops talking,

it dies.

 

(Sounds of a City, copyright Steven S. Walsky, 2005, all right reserved.)

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