Silence by Annette Greenaway

Top news for fans of Annette Greenaway’s remarkable poetry collection, The Joy of Atheism.  Annette’s poem Silence has been set to music by New American Voices, a performance of which can be seen here:


The Words:



I have decided that I will spend the next year silent.

I will not speak or write another word.

I will recycle my phone and my laptop.

I will carry a set of cards with me wherever I go.

One of the cards will say, “Yes.” Another will say, “No.”

Another will say, “Two sugars please.”

One will say, “I adore your shoes.”

One will say, “Apologies. I am spending the year silent, And cannot respond to your query at this time.”

One will be a picture of a flower.

One will say, “Good people don’t kill people.”

One will say, “The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog.”

One will say, “No explanation required.”

One will say, “Insert amusing anecdote here.”

One will say, “I love you.”

Two of the cards will say, “I disagree entirely with your last statement.”

One will be written in lower case, and the other in block capitals.

One will say, “Sex please.”

One will say, “OK, you can stop now.”

One will say, “It’s your turn.”

One will say, “I’m sorry.”

One will say, “I’m terribly sorry.”

One will say, “Why?”

One will be completely blank, and I will hold this card against my face,

Matching my expression.
You may think I am doing this because I am unhappy,

And I want to wallow in my own misery,

But I’m looking forward to being wordless.

I have a feeling it’s going to be twelve months

Of uninterrupted joy.


Published by

Frank Burton

I'm a fiction writer, and founder of the non-profit online publisher, Philistine Press. I'm the author of the short story collection, A History of Sarcasm (Dog Horn 2009). My short story, The World, was featured on BBC Radio 4's Afternoon Reading. My novel, The Prodigals, can be downloaded for free at

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