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Monday, June 6, 2011

Brotherly Love

(Staircase at Rue Vilin, Belleville,
by Willy Ronis, 1910-2009,
French photographer)

“Affection would not be affection,” wrote C. S. Lewis in The Four Loves, “if it was loudly and frequently expressed . . . It lives with humble, un-dress, private things; soft slippers, old clothes, old jokes, the thump of a sleepy dog’s tail on the kitchen floor.”


Silence, more
eloquent than
speech: the un-
spoken word
wiser than our

earnest trials
to say, to find
in the mind's hoard
praise that reveals
perfections unknown

and not diminished
in the telling —
in the silences
between speech and halt
speech, beseech

a gift of tongues
that words bear
witness, true
to what we hear
chiefly in silence

before and after
speech now, as
these letters
whiten the space
surrounding them.

~ Daniel Hoffman, born 1923, American poet and essayist

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