Tag Archives: night sounds

Noises in the Night

Noises in the Night

She was six years old and alone in a room that had noises in the wall. She would curl up into a tight little ball under the covers and concentrate on the friendly sounds––the tapping of the pendulum of the clock which hung on the wall beside her bed and the water gurgling through the heating pipes. The muffled voices of her parents down below in the living room. She liked these noises. They made her think that she wasn’t alone.

But she could hear other sounds of the summer night–– the sudden loud popping noise that she thought was a gun until daddy told her that it was only houses settling, or the sound of the elm tree outside her window scraping against the brick on the chimney or the wind as it whined through her screens, making the venetian blinds scrape against their wooden window frames. She could hear things in the walls, too––noises that sounded like people walking and high shrieking noises that daddy said were just mice and not robbers.

The sheet felt muggy on her bare legs and she kicked it off and rolled over. She lay on her stomach and slipped her hand beneath the pillow, sliding it back-and-forth against the trapped coolness of the percale. She glanced at the noisy pendulum clock Santa had brought her for Christmas to help her learn to tell the time. It was her first real clock and it was in the shape of a Shmoo.  She could just make out where its hands were from the light of the streetlamp shining through her window. It wasn’t very late.

She flipped over and slid her legs over the side of the bed, feeling the slight stickiness of the linoleum on her feet as she walked to the window. The air had cooled a bit and it had started to rain. A slight breeze tickled the hairs on her arm and sifted the rain onto her nose as she pressed it close to the screen to smell the mustiness of the wet night grass.

She wondered when her older sisters would get home and come up to bed. It was lonely in a room all alone in the upstairs of a house that had robbers in the walls.


For MMM’s Sunday Writing Prompt

I Hear the Distant Music


I Hear the Distant Music

The midnight bells toll languidly—their sequence slightly varied
to tell the stories of the hours—or those soon to be buried.
Behind them swells the music of a local band.
On the platform in the plaza, for hours more they’ll stand
pumping out their music to the crowds who gather there.
After their days of heavy labor, these hours are without care.

The oom pah pah of distant music stirs my curtains like the wind—
the notes, first stiffly marching, change their minds to dip and bend.
The banda tunes a bit off-key, loud in their origin,
by the time they lift to me are strained out soft and thin.
Living miles above the town, I’m spared soreness of ears
as from assonant cacophony, the music shifts its gears.

What I hear is joyfulness far into the night.
The music meant to call to action releases its bite
and becomes a happy background as I slip into dreams.
Others have not given up on the day it seems.
Behind my lids I see them–lovers in their clenches,
grandmothers slowly nodding as they watch them from the benches.

It may be that daylight hours are for labor and for strife,
but far into the the morning hours, the village lives its life
in the night-shadowed plaza, far below where I
shift upon my pillow, content to simply lie
listening to the village—all the stories that it tells.
The laughter and the music and the tolling of the bells.

(In Mexico, church bells are a sort of village clock.  They toll the hour, half-hour and quarter-hour, but also announce church services and deaths.)

Today’s word was “distant.”

Night Chorus


Night Chorus

Village dogs out in the dark—
first they howl, and then they bark.

A filling moon spills from a cloud.
That’s when the dogs become so loud.

Each of my dogs is in his bed,
though they’d rather be outside instead.

My dogs and I silent and still
as outside voices speak their will.

The little burro brays consent.
Wind in the palms nodding assent.

I have my qualms about leaving Morrie and Diego out all night to converse with the neighbors.  I spoil all their fun!!!