The Poetry Question

Discovering the Relevance of Words

The Daily Prompt – Wednesday, May 8th

Rules:

  1. Use the prompt in the way it’s intended (starting a sentence, the title of the piece, theme, etc)
  2. You may write in any format you see fit (fiction, non-fiction, poem, song, script, etc.)
  3. Post your piece of writing in the comments section of the website to be considered for the prizes given
  4. The winner of each daily prompt will be published on the site in “Best of The Daily Prompt” section

The Daily Prompt:

“The Sound of Silence”

Get your writing materials ready.  Set a timer for 5 minutes.Turn off the music, television, dishwasher, washing machine, or anything else that may be generating artificial noise.  Either find a room to yourself or ask anyone in the room to be completely silent.  Begin your timer and, for the next five minutes, record, note, list, describe, and/or explain everything you hear.

About Jamaal

Lover of words, liver of life, director of theatre, keeper of keys and grounds at Hogwarts. Twitter: @JamaalAllan

32 comments on “The Daily Prompt – Wednesday, May 8th

  1. Christopher Margolin
    May 8, 2013

    I know that at least J. Gabriel Allan and I did this one in college. I have my CW students do it every year, and I always love the responses. I’m looking forward to reading comments from today, and seeing which one Allan grabs as the Best of the Daily Prompt!

  2. Kassy Deverell
    May 8, 2013

    I HEAR:
    Lots of typing going throughout the room
    Noises of the kids outside of the room talking about the latest drama
    Sniffling coming from the few that have allergies from the spring time
    The kid next to me taping his knee at an insanely fast rate
    A pop being put back on the desk from someone drinking off of it
    Sound of the over head projector on as it displays the home work
    The door opening
    A loud kid coming in through the door
    The sound of a chime from part of a back pack hitting the garbage can
    sound of my heart beat

  3. Megan Askey
    May 8, 2013

    I hear the clicking of the keyboard as my fellow classmates begin their work. The fan is blowing the cool air out into the room, whether we need it or not is a different story. I listen to the chip bag rustle through my typing fingers, arms hitting the tables. I hear the sounds of people laughing through the halls, at probably something that is not really funny, but they are trying to make the person feel better. The sneeze of a girl is hard to miss through the typing noises. Most of what i hear are thoughts running through people’s brains as they are trying to think of something, anything to come up with for this prompt. I hear a door slam against a wall, hearing the vibrations through that same wall. More and more giggling is commencing through the closed door. I hear the door open, to a strange boy just looking for a computer. The printer rushles to print a girl’s paper that is obviously very important at this time.

  4. Matthew Groves
    May 8, 2013

    When i close my eyes and listen to what i around me, I hear each and every key on the keyboard. Like violent, shrill noises that ehco throughout the entire room. Someone grabbed for a bag of doritos. Each crunch sound like individual winow paines shttering into a million pieces while each shuffle of the bag makes twice as loud of a noise. The printer goes off and that alone could drive a man insane.

  5. Christopher Margolin
    May 8, 2013

    My students are typing. I can hear each of them begin the process of thinking through their fingers. It’s an interesting dialogue between student and computer. The phone next me just vibrated, but I’m not willing to pull my hands away to sneak a peek at whoever is messaging me. A girl two seats down, to the left, just pulled a chip from her bag, and is trying too hard to eat softly; it’s not working very well. Voices in the hallway are distracting, but after 10 years of teaching, I’ve gotten used to the shrill sounds. A sneeze. A cough. The clear of a throat. More laughter from the hallways. The crinkle of the same bag of chips. The faint whisper of music from inside the room – a student who is not one of mine is listening to something with a bit of bass. The swivel of a chair. The lift of a finger. The laughter in the hallways is never ending. Whispered voices. A door opens. Something drops. A door closes. Shuffling of feet. The squeak of a chair being lowered. The printer begins it’s motion, and paper slips through it’s teeth. A chair. A bracelet. The clatter of keys.

  6. Vicky Buskuhl
    May 8, 2013

    I hear the ‘click click click’ of the keyboards around me; like a sea of clicking, coming from every direction. I can hear the ringing in my ears, as though I had just stopped listening to the music turned up loud. I can hear the jacket that the girl next to me is wearing as it slides across the table whenever she types. I can hear the faint laughter of students outside the door as they dissapear down the hallway. I can hear the squeaking of chairs as people reposition themselves to get more comfortable so that they can really focus on their task. This is what the cound of silence has come to be. There is no complete silence, but faint noises in the background.

  7. Keyra Butler
    May 8, 2013

    The rush of the keyboards being pushed a pond. Squeaks of the chairs moving. Mice clicking all theses sounds coming from just a computer with students not knowing what to type. Back spacing, erasing what’s not right. Space bar after space bar after next. Are there even thoughts being put down onto the screen? The sound dimmers now with frustration and blankness thoughts through each students mind. Typing and typing, typing and typing. The door opens, a can being thrown into the trash. The sounds of one that doesn’t know how to pick up their feet, dragging the misery of his life down every hall.

  8. Anna Lopez
    May 8, 2013

    i hear the tip tap of the keys getting pressed down one- by- one. little kid laughter out in the distance as the wind of the computer buzzes in my ear. as a small sneeze comes from across from me. that piece of plastic infront of me that i have no idea what it goes to, it’s so stupid, i keep hitting it, tap, tap, tap…… shut up already! oh, the printer.

  9. Kathryn Tyler
    May 8, 2013

    I hear typing of the key boards the buzzing of the over head projector i can hear myself breathing and sighing. I also hear chips being brought out of a bag. The silence in this room is dead because of the consist typing and clicking noise that the computer makes. It makes it hard to focus on the task in hand. Hearing the computer chair being lowered. The rush of pressure being released.

  10. Emma Bower
    May 8, 2013

    The hum of the lights is uncomfortable as I sit at my computer. It is a noise that makes me feel that if i even budge, I will disturb someone else’s thought process. The clicking of the keyboards is familiar though, and makes things a little less uncomfortable. The random sniffles from people who have colds go around the room. My sniffles included, making me feel like I am probably annoying the crap out of somebody. The absence of music makes me feel bare, naked almost. Instead of music the keyboards keep clicking, the sniffles keep going around, the tiny sneezes that someone is trying not to make very loud, the printer printing, and the echo in my ears of when someone drops something in the trash can is still ringing.

  11. Steve
    May 8, 2013

    Click
    Tappa tappa tappa
    Pheeeew
    Sniffl snuffle
    Shuffle shuffle shuffle
    Throat clearing
    Rattling
    Rattling
    Rattle rattle rattle
    (An annoying vent)

    Computer thinking
    Clock clicks
    Far off voices

    Fingers on fabric
    Scratching
    Bump

    Time

  12. Carole Chase
    May 8, 2013

    There is no silence at my house anymore. A city work crew has taken over the street where I live. What they’re doing out there is a mystery to me, but whatever it is, it seems they’re constantly at it. Since it’s a city crew I imagine they knock off at five on the dot, but even when I lie in bed at night I think I can still hear their noise.

    Even though the kids are at school, the TV is off, and the washing machine sits idle, I hear the dull hum of giant excavators wresting chunks of earth in great spoonfuls and dumping them in the back of a hollow truck, punctuated by the metallic ping of gravel falling.

    The beeeep beeeep beeeep of the back-up signals is what bothers me the most. As a kid, for fun, did you ever pick a word and say it aloud, over and over, until the sound of it suddenly became foreign in its monotony? The beeps are like that; robotic, high-pitched, almost feminine-sounding. Sometimes I wryly imagine that Ke$ha is driving the truck and speak-singing the beeps, in between smacks of gum.

    I hear the voices of men yelling at one another to move this way or that, redirecting traffic. I recognize a voice above the others, from a rather dour, middle-aged man, whose sole job is to hold a stop sign, and alternately flip the sign to say “slow.” I don’t like him. He clearly gets off on the power of his position, the chancellor of stop-and-go. Yesterday he left me sitting at a stop for five full minutes, exactly four feet from my driveway. He held the sign with great authority and stared me solidly in the eyes. I wonder if he’d ever known a finer moment in all his life.

  13. Brandon Hekel
    May 8, 2013

    A infinite repitition of clicks from the keyboards, too loud to hear my own thoughts.
    Snap
    Click
    Fingers hurriedly pressing each key with ideas, thoughts… You can almost hear the brain-power at work. It’s not surprising minutes have already passed, as the clock is sitting silently in the corner of the classroom. I was waiting expectantly for a brief sneeze, a moment of excitement from this dreary class…
    Stillness now, thoughts used up and thrown on paper. Everyone’s taking a minute (perhaps more?) to gather their thoughts, listen to the ambiance of a supposed ‘silent’ assignment.

  14. Mekenzie Frasier
    May 8, 2013

    You know there is no such thing as truly silent. A wind in the leaves, air escaping the lungs or even a slow paced heartbeat. You told the room to be silent, but all I can hear is the rapid clicking of a keyboard, a fellow classmate sniffling, voices shouting the halls. No matter how you try to block out the noise, it will creep its way back into your head. The ache of a tired chair, the shuffling of feet, and the low drone of the AC. People will always adjust their position, let out a sniffle, or click away as silently as they can. Intake your breath, release it slowly and hunch back over your worn out keyboard, time to begin writing.

    • J. Gabriel Allan
      May 8, 2013

      Great opening line!

  15. Caesar
    May 8, 2013

    i here slience till a voice yells out “go”. My mind races about what i am to write about which is sound. the sound the key boards make when 25 students all tybe at once. the sound of the gum being crushed between my teeth on every chew i make. the sound of my phone vibing off the desk to alert me my phones gonna die. i hear the mouse being clicked for every little mistake that a student is making throughout there pieses

  16. Gretchen Torrey
    May 8, 2013

    The dropping of a phone as the time is announced and
    pound goes the space bar and the clicking of keys infiltrates the silence
    that is supposed to be hovering and supposed to be what we’re writing about. A chair creaks behind me and some kid drops their bag to the floor. I hear the clicking on the overhead and the whooshing of the vent that is blowing a breeze through the room that’s cold enough to give me goosebumps. I try not to sneeze because it would sound like a roar in this place where there’s no hum of cellphones vibrating, not even a whisper. Taps of mouses and pauses while someone tries to figure out what to write or pauses a moment to reconsider something they’ve just written. I don’t even want to breathe because the noise might be ridicuously loud. Fingers pop and the pressing of keys winds down as my classmates either run out of ideas or lose their train of thought. Just as suddenly, the typing crescendos again and a voice says “6 seconds”.

  17. Andrew D. White
    May 8, 2013

    I hear a slight hum of a speaker waiting for sounds, music, or a voice being fuzzly blurted out. I hear several keyboards clicking and fingers smacking keys while typing to this reply. Lockers from a distance down the hall being closed, while students are talking and there words are being cut out with the noise of the locker door closing. A phone vibrating repeatedly times while violently sliding across the table. I hear a clicking noise with a bit of a rough low rumbling noise from a finger scrolling on a mouse, along with a click clack of the mouse being moved, picked up, and placed back down while exploring the computer screen. I hear the squeak of my chair as I impatiently rock back in forth typing this reply. A slight thump of a phone, being picked up to check time and plopped back down on the table.

  18. Jordan Katz
    May 8, 2013

    There is a rhythm to the continuous tapping of keys in this rather hot room. I can hear my pulse beat in my ears as my mind wanders to other places while I stare blankly at this screen, jotting down whatever I hear in this class…

  19. Trevor Ebert
    May 8, 2013

    I have noticed that the sounds of key rattles and the num almost hum of the computer lab is quite almost soothing for it being a tiresome day. I am not really sure on what all there is else to find in the multiple layers of key hits from the assembly of other doing the same. Would it be reasonable to say that the sound is similar to running water? Or to something with the description of white noise. That noise is the most confusing of sounds because one can get lost in it and one can get confused or frustrated in it. A brake is required, but if you can’t leave from it is truly obnoxious. However, with that said, it is usually found that were ever you go it is not just a change of seen, but a change of sound and after all that is what you are looking for. Because really, there is not many of any place that is truly or completely silent.

  20. Selma Kadric
    May 8, 2013

    The voices in the hallway, sound as if they are all echoing..I hear the keyboards of the computer being tapped as each person is going about their own writing. The doors closing and opening, heels hitting the floor in the hallways as the teacher passes by the classroom door. Laughter from a student as he talks to another one of his friends. Silence when there’s absolutely no one in the hallways. The buzzing noise from the projector and the ring from someones cell phone as that person is just now recieving a text message. The sound of someones pencil running across notebook paper as they are writing down their own thoughts and finishing up the assignment for the teacher.

  21. Genevieve Cammer
    May 8, 2013

    I hear my own heavy breath coming out my mouth like a continual sigh. I shouldn’t be stressed about this. Keyboards all around me click rapidly, as though this is a contest, not just a small assignment. As though its life or death. Margolin clicks his mouse on the computer and I wonder what he’s looking at. Is he checking out his poetry page? I hear the the fan on the left top side of the room whirring, but I can’t hear it well against all of this chaotic typing. The typing sounds like rain pouring on pavement, each and every key a new drop with a new small sound. It seems insignificant, but when they combine, it becomes a thunderous noise. The patterns of the typing change, from heavy typing to soft.

  22. Nora
    May 8, 2013

    I can hear the click-clacking of the keyboards as each student types. I can hear the difference in the space bars, the letter keys, and the backspace. I can hear a computer boot up, the soft whispering as a classmate asks the teacher a question. It’s funny really, I never stop to listen to the sounds in silence anymore, I can’t stand silence.

    Key stroke, after key stroke, after key stroke. I get bored by the simple repetition in the sounds. There is a faint hum of all the computers running, and the florescent lights above us. It’s so soft though, you wouldn’t be able to hear it if you weren’t listening for it. There’s a constant sound of a deeper clacking; the space bar being pressed. The keys are a lullaby, background noise. You never really pay attention to background noises anymore. It’s sad.

  23. Kendra Virgin
    May 8, 2013

    Its quiet in the room. silent is not the word I’d use. it’s quiet not silent. Silence is an emptyness, a hallow echo in your head. Often heard after one has cried for a great deal of time, or after the miserable storm has hit destroying all in its path. Silence is whats left after everything has left. The yelling, screaming, cries of pain, cries of helplessness, pounding inside my head, the screech of tires, the booming barks of dogs next door, the loud buzz of the televison, the constant reminders, the ringing of the phone, the crash of broken glass, and then the emptyness.

  24. Kristofer Greenfield
    May 8, 2013

    i first hear the keys of people typing as well as my own. i can hear the whisper of Mr.maroglin helping a class mate with trying to get where im writing. i head someones backpack thump the floor, it wasent hard. i hear a door slam then voices fallowing. i hear the hum of the projector and its very faint kinda like a non existent whisper. i wait to here more sounds but all i hear is the annoying tapping of keys on the keyboard. i hear the squeaking of chairs as some people try to adjust themselves.

  25. Makayla Micheal
    May 8, 2013

    I hear the clatter of twenty odd keyboards going as everyone else gets out all the answers to what they hear around them. I hear the thoughts in my head as they begin to yell out to me what to say next and try to get my thoughts in order so I do no regretfully write gibberish on the page in front of me. The humming of the computer tower presents itself beside me whispering a tune as it begins to wake up. The sound of air hitting my eardrums, though likely not audible it is still there. The sounds of chairs being adjusted and shuffling becomes louder as those around me try to find comfort in a fluorescently lit computer lab.

  26. Bryan Pajari
    May 8, 2013

    I hear people typing what they feel they hear as I am writing. My concentration is limited because I cannot concentrate when people have chicken fingers. I hear the air ducks wave but cannot see them. The chair creaking as someone adjusts their seat. A mouse being pressed as someone is submitting or correcting their horrific grammar. Bend every keyboard type, the space bar seems to stick out like a sore thumb. Someone slid their keyboard, adjusting to their comfort, as if it will help them.

  27. Andrew Morris
    May 8, 2013

    They key boards all around me are tapping. Clicking. Softly chattering in a language, I cannot yet understand. As the chatter continues, the sound is broken by a bag dropping on the floor. The keys on the keyboards do not care though. They keep talking all at once. Nothing can interrupt their conversations. They are talk over everything. Almost as if the classroom is its own ecosystem where the keyboards are the alpha males. The bags dropping, phones vibrating, and the occasional sniffle or cough cannot seem to overpower the alpha male. Then as if I was focused too much on the keys and made myself oblivious to the objects around me, a new sound seems to try and over power the keys. A new force. A worthy opponent. The soft humming of the fan.

  28. Veda Newton
    May 8, 2013

    Clapping and scattered voices burst across the room, out of the speakers. Morris’ passion filled poetry speaks over the electronc buzz of the projector. Margolin’s voice overpowers everything, talking with excitemet of his website’s hits, the daily prompt and extra credit. He pauses briefly emphasizing the 50 points we could recieve by being the best. The typing keys are clattering and chattering in front of me, in rythm with my fingers. Boisterous and meek voices speak out across the lab, in question of the teachers suggestions. “Can I go to the bathroom?”, “Can you?”, “May I go to the bathroom?”: so many stupid questions. He’s getting irritated, his voice gets deeper, he’s talking over the chatter. Fiction, Final, May 31st. Important projects and dates, the sighs and groans creep out from the lungs all through the room. Mouses are clicking, chairs are spinning with their creaking and whirring, the lever pushing up and down. Silence. The class is listening. And then his voice booms again in instruction.

  29. J. Gabriel Allan
    May 8, 2013

    Truly impressed with all of these responses, especially those from Margolin’s class. Keep writing, students of all ages!

  30. J. Gabriel Allan
    May 8, 2013

    Megan, Vicky, Emma, Carole, Brandon, Mekenzie, and Nora – your writing really jumped out and grabbed me today. Thank you!

  31. Jason Henderson Amare
    May 9, 2013

    There’s a constant ringing in my ear that never fully goes away. At the moment it weaves in and out of the buzz of floor heater that never really turns off either. I can hear bird calls faintly out of my window. Some sing beautifully, some chirp brashly, some sound as though they are in a state of panic. I hear the tap of my fingers on the keys and subconsciously try to be rhythmic with the click. This is the first time I’ve noticed this about myself. My stomach sounds like it’s slurring the vowels. I can’t tell if it’s hunger pains or a brewing fart. A scratch of my leg, a sniffle, a screech of my desk chair. I scratch my stubbed face and notice the scratch is more brash than when I scratched my leg. Finally I notice what my stomach is trying to tell me…

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