This is a marvellous evocation of silence in nature… if you have ever experienced it, in a summer wood, in a sun-filled vale, in a shadowy gorge at midday, then you might understand the urge to shout out, to Hey! . . . Hey! . . . Hullo! Hullo!
It was bright day and all the trees were still
In the deep valley, and the dim Sun glowed;
The clay in hard-baked fire along the hill
Leapt through dark trunks to apples green and gold,
Smooth, hard and cold, they shone like lamps of stone:
They were bright bubbles bursting from the trees,
Swollen and still among the dark green boughs;
On their bright skins the shadows of the leaves
Seemed the faints ghosts of summers long since gone,
Faint ghosts of ghosts, the dreams of ghostly eyes.
There was not sound between those breathless hills.
Only the dim Sun hung there, nothing moved;
The thronged, massed, crowded multitude of leaves
Hung like dumb tongues that loll and gasp for air:
The grass was thick and still, between the trees.
There were big apples lying on the ground,
Shining, quite still, as though they had been stunned
By some great violent spirit stalking through,
Leaving a deep and supernatural calm
Round a dead beetle upturned in a furrow.
A valley filled with dark, quiet, leaf-thick trees,
Loaded with green, cold, faintly shining suns;
And in the sky a great dim burning disc! —
Madness it is to watch these twisted trunks
And to see nothing move and hear no sound!
Let’s make a noise, Hey! . . . Hey! . . . Hullo! Hullo!
Walter James Redfern Turner