Before discussing Jane Yeh’s “A Short History of Silence,” we thought about silence versus quiet—were they the same? If not, how are they different? We also pondered potential difficulty remaining silent or whether we should have more moments of silence in our everyday lives. As we segued to discussing Yeh’s poem, we looked at some of its more striking similes, such as “We sit like bread in a stay-fresh wrapper,” and imagery regarding mirrors that “don’t work”—how is that possible? I also wondered if the poem made sense narratively, or if that was even necessary, considering its vivid descriptions?
For their own poems, students brainstormed on things that are silent, as well as silent similes and imagery, before diving in to write.
Mrs. Rosenzweig, 4th Grade
The Silent Sense
By Charleigh C.
Silence tastes like nothing.
Silence feels so zen. Silence
sounds like nothing. Silence
looks like an empty room.
Silence smells like nothing.
School of Silence
By Izzy D.
In the school of silence, we practice math.
It’s really just a normal school
Just instead of talking, we use signs
Middle finger and index finger, switch subjects
Thumb and pinkie, follow m-e
Thumbs up and thumbs down, smile or a frown
Pinkie and ring, repeat Mr. Ming:
“We can talk cool, new principal, new school”
By Hunter H.
In space, there’s no one to talk to
No living being to make a sound
it’s silent, a silent lifeless place
Humans hide in their spacecraft like clothes,
Stuffed in a closet
We look outside windows at the silvery glow of the moon
The green and blue planet earth,
Unlike this barren silent wasteland called space
Earth is the lively place we belong to
Silence At Night
By Vedika K.
Wait until it’s dark, and go outside.
If you live somewhere near the countryside.
Look at the beautiful dark sky.
It is as dark as the color black.
Luckily, the stars shine bright with light.
It is silent as you look up at the starry sky.
No one is here except for you, looking
at the endless dark sky. There is silence.
As you wait, the moon rises, in its crescent shape.
You stare in awe, for it is very wondrous and beautiful.
You look at the sky in silence, and as it gets late,
You turn off the light and go to bed.
By Ethan M.
As bright as day
As dark as night
Is this what silence is?
Where are we
It is silent.
Why can’t we speak
Stuck in a loophole
With all being quiet
By Jayden M.
I hear nothing
THE WORD IS SILENCED
By Isabella W.
Flew away the birds from hundreds of hills
Disappeared the people in thousands of trails
An old man was fishing
In an isolated kayak
In the middle of a frozen lake
Dida Dida says my heart.
Only my breath and heart can be heard
Mountains and lake blurred
Let the imagination heard
Mrs. Johnson, 4th Grade
By Ella H.
It is dark and the trees are silent
The moon is shining on them
There is no wind in the sky
It is windy and quiet
There is a storm coming in soon
But until then the trees are silent
Silence is …..
By Parker N.
Night is bright. Night is silent. Silent night is when you close your eyes and everything is calm and quiet.
Silence is calm. Silence is night. Silence is like a warm coffee in a cold room after a hard day’s work. Silence is what keeps the world calm.
By Aubrey P.
It is dark in the sky
Bringing only silence in the night
I look around then see silence
Silents is the thing I say
Mixing up word throughout the day
I hear my heartbeat the thump thump thumping
If you have nothing to say be silent
And only joy you will have to bring to
Me Being Silent While Others Are Loud
By Edmund W.
When I first start to think about why I am silent, I think about darkness.
Even when I am too hard to harness.
My voice is quiet, silent, thinking,
All about my tinkering.
Not really going well,
Even when I sit to dwell.
Many things happened while I was silent,
Many things shouldn’t have happened at all.
But through it all,
And when I am silent,
I feel that being quiet is the best choice for me.
Mrs. Barnes, 4th Grade
By Laina F.
Silence is calming sitting under a tree.
Listening to a quiet stream.
Silence is being alone and reading a book.
Silence is bubble baths and candles.
When you need some time in peace.
Silence is fishing in a row boat on the pond.
By Christian H.
Quiet is everywhere but if you make noise it goes away.
A Silent Storm
By Kayla J.
In the evening air I feel
A breeze blow by on an empty street
A crack of thunder
Shakes the ground under
Beneath my feet
A crack of lightning
Shines from above
Muted by the sounds of the world.
The storm today is silent.
By Olivia M.
It’s a silent day
I rather not say
Nothing makes a sound
No bells ringing for school…
Not even wind whistling
We can hear anything
We can’t talk
Silence IS BAD
By Shai R.
Silence is trash
I don’t like silence
Honestly it is bad
It feels like NOTHING
It tastes like AIR
It smells like NOTHING
I feel AIR
I see it depends so basically nothing
Silence is like a silencer
IT IS TOO QUIET
Like bruh IMAGINE BEING QUIET LIKE
NO WAY EVER
By Liam S.
My mom tells me to be silent, because I’m noisy
I make loud sounds
I can’t stop
Being noisy is fun, but also annoying
I can’t stop
Being noisy hurts my throat, it’s funny
I can’t stop
My dog is better at making noise
He squeals and barks
We can’t stop
By Kellan T.
You’re in a cave it’s
dark you can’t hear anything
It’s silent all you can
hear is your steps deeper
in the cave than you
hear a sound that makes
your heart stop and you
Mr. O’Brien, 4th Grade
By Athan C.
There are trees, silence, and darkness.
I am in the forest with all the other animals.
Sound is great but silence is better.
Silence is like the chocolate part of the cookie.
It’s the best part.
The Quiet Ones
By Xavier G.
There’s plenty of quiet animals in the sea but have you ever seen the quiet ones.
The zap you when you anger them
They move mostly up and down.
They’re the quiet ones
They swim more quiet than sharks more quiet than a worm
They don’t make noise because they’re the…
These are the silent ones, the silent ones of the deep.
By Skylar I.
Be quiet maybe u can hear the birds
Be quiet maybe u can hear the ocean waves
Be quiet and maybe u can hear the sun shining be quiet and maybe u can hear the world’s spinning surface
By Madeleine O.
Where Am I
By Zia R.
It is dark
It is quiet
Where am I
I am in the city
Where is everyone
I like it here
Silence feels like awesome
But I wish I could grab sound
It is too quiet
Must see sound
But I am proud
By Clara S.
The world is silent. Like a doorbell ringing but it has no ring, or like a person yawning to go to bed but you can barely hear it. It’s when you sound like nothing. It could also be as quiet as the stars just sitting there in the dead of night. It feels like a dark empty forest. It looks like nothing. It is infinite.