says my friend when we hike in the redwoods—
she likes quiet of nature while I talk about
dragon-shaped clouds, snowy egret in the lake,
swerving-serpent trails, sunflares through trees.

A time to be silent and a time to speak
Had Patrick Henry remained silent instead of
shouting "Give me Liberty, or give me Death!"
the British may still be ruling America.

Now I'm pondering on silence— like the space
between words allowing us to read with ease,
the white paper where stories are written,
the cinema screen where films are projected,

the blank canvas where artists paint their work,
the empty space where galaxies call their home.
In the beginning, God SAID "Let there be light"
and the miniscule black jar was shattered—

releasing this expanding space-time universe
from a single dark point whose birth pang
was so loud that the Big Bang noise can
still be heard 14 billion years afterwards.

Sages say our mind is a restless monkey
with endless thoughts like machine gun bullets—
if you wish to be enlightened, catch the gap
between thoughts— when one ends and the next

begins, or be attentive while falling asleep—
between the waking and sleep state— witness
the twilight zone and see that silence does not
begin when the music stops but is always there.

Silence is not the absence of noise and sound
but the essence of waking, dream & deep sleep—
more luminous than a thousand suns— silence
is golden because pure consciousness is gold.

        — Peter Y. Chou
            Mountain View, 10-12-2012

Sunburst flare over oak by pond
Calero County Park (2012)