starting with a Dickinson line (#1123) A great hope fell, you heard no noise. Here, where cicadas once chirred, no noise. Can you sense the rats in the bedroom walls? The cat drags in a mangled bird, no noise. Something cracks, then a thud on the roof. A sound of heaving. Afterward, no noise. A stupor of pain descends on the house. Your drunken words slurred—no, noise. Can a hangover last a month or more? On one thing we both concurred: no noise. A clamor of insects, a rustle of leaves. You cry, “Shut up! Not a word! No noise!” Three things: first, oppressive heat; second, a slight prickliness; third, no noise. An alarm peals out, shrill as a scream. You open an eye, dreams interred. No noise. Hear the remains of midnight in your blood? Remember when you preferred no noise?
The poem was originally published this spring in Tilt-a-Whirl, issue 9 (Winter/Spring 2013), a wonderful journal of repeating forms; alas, this was their last issue. The last 18 months or so, I’ve written about two dozen of these ghazals, each starting with a line from an Emily Dickinson poem.
Scott Wiggerman is the author of two books of poetry, Presence and Vegetables and Other Relationships, and the editor of several volumes, including Wingbeats: Exercises & Practice in Poetry and Lifting the Sky: Southwestern Haiku & Haiga. He recently received his third Pushcart nomination, his second for a sonnet. He is founding editor of Dos Gatos Press in Austin, Texas, publisher of the Texas Poetry Calendar, now in its seventeenth year. His website is swig.tripod.com.