This weekend, while working in the yard, I was listening to Simon and Garfunkel’s Greatest Hits. “The Sound of Silence” came on and I was hit, afresh, by the lyric, remembering, only after it was over, that I’d written about it before. I’ve been singing it since, unable to shake how fresh it is. I just went back and reread my original post, deciding it was worth a rewind. Hopefully, you’ll think so, too.


I occasionally have an “oldies” Pandora station playing while I work. Yesterday was such a day, and the familiar strains of a Simon and Garfunkel classic began to fill the room.

Hello darkness, my old friend…I’ve come to talk with you again…

I stopped typing and just listened, allowing myself to sink into the song as the verses continued.

In restless dreams I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone
‘Neath the halo of a street lamp
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light
That split the night
And touched the sound of silence

I felt myself swept up into these “restless dreams,” following the man along the cobblestone walkway.

And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never share
And no one dared
Disturb the sound of silence

With sudden discomfort, I felt as though I was no longer a quiet spectator, but one of the “ten thousand,” understanding, with startling clarity, that I’d been “talking without speaking,” and “hearing without listening.” My head dropped as I thought about all the “songs I had written that voices never share.”  And then, breaking my revery…

“Fools”, said I, “You do not know
Silence like a cancer grows
Hear my words that I might teach you
Take my arms that I might reach you”
But my words, like silent raindrops fell
And echoed
In the wells of silence

“No!” I thought, “I hear Your words! I do!” Frantically, I looked around, crying, “Listen to Him! Take hold of Him now!”

But it was too little, too late. I looked around in horror as I watched what happened next…

And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made
And the sign flashed out its warning
In the words that it was forming
And the sign said, “The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls”
And whispered in the sounds of silence

Relieved that it was only a song, it was still with an unsettled spirit that I returned from that dreamland and back to reality at the lyric’s end.

I’d been left to ponder how effective the use of my own voice is in a world that is bowing to the words of its own prophets. Do I boldly speak the only thing that will split wide open the “silence” of our global cacophony?

Or am I, too often, one who isn’t “daring to disturb” the sounds of silence, at all?



For the time is coming when people will not endure soundteaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” 2 Timothy 4:3-4 ESV

“And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.” Mark 16:15 ESV

“Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples!” Psalm 96:3 ESV

“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 ESV