Silence and Time

By: Michelle Gunnin

Editor’s Note: Where does inspiration come from for a writer? In Michelle’s case, the backstory prompts the writing, from her personal experiences, both as a cancer survivor and taking care of her husband after a head injury.

However, in this case, rather than a narrative, she wrote poetry. From her email:

“Silence is one I wrote years ago about head injury caregiving.
Time is one I wrote at 3 am this morning about dementia.

Looking at this, I guess caregiving brings out the poetry in me.”




They say silence is golden and sometimes it is true.


Unless silence is a prison.

Unless you do not speak because the wind will carry your words away


Unless you do not speak because you are invisible.

Unless it is easier to remain soundless than to explain to deaf ears.

Some would make light of your silence, or judge it.

Some would not understand that your silence is a choice.

A choice to avoid a torrent of words… which lead to an ocean of tears.

A choice to escape prying eyes, or glazed ones.

A choice to protect or disappear.

Silence is easier than explaining.

Silence bites your tongue. Holds you still.

Waiting for wrath. Waiting for calm.

It is heavy… this silence. A burden to bear.

A part of you which was not a choice, not in the beginning.

Now, it is a harbor.

A refuge.

A tongue held captive.

In secret.

A soul that longs to be heard

In silence.



Time slides by.

Stealing thoughts, taking memories.

Leaving only shadows and fog.

Time used to be a friend, now, it becomes a relentless foe.

Tick. Tick. Tick.

Racing at a snail’s pace towards the grave, creating childhood as it goes.

Tick. Tick. Tick.

Growth in reverse, invisible words, impossible to grasp.

Decisions evaporate in the mist.

Tick. Tick. Tick.

Eyes without twinkle.

Steps toddle.

Hands wringing hands.

Face falls flat.

Tick. Tick. Tick.

Deferred grief – the constant companion.

While waiting for



Bio: Michelle Gunnin

Michelle Gunnin is an everyday woman who is a writer, a wife, a mom of four adult children, a former teacher, a colleague, a missionary, a sister, and a daughter.

She is also a cancer survivor, a caregiver, and a recovering Pharisee.

With more questions than answers, Michelle writes to explore both. She is determined to be in the moment and live fully…both things life has taught her.

You can follow her blog at

Michelle’s book on

Michelle has an extensive amount of published work on Two Drops of Ink. Click this link for all of her posts.


  1. Michelle-I love your poems. They capture so much. In reading “Silence”, I imagined the newcomers to Al-Anon support class. Your poem captures very well the feeling of wanting refuge and comfort while not being forced to share.

  2. Michelle – What an excellent capture of the stark realities of Dementia, which changes silence and time from a gift we’ve been given, to a prison one longs to escape. I lost my Mom to Alzheimer’s years before I lost her to death by stroke, and each. word. rang. true.
    And Marilyn, I assume you chose the picture. It couldn’t be more fitting! I especially love the symbolism of the second hand going backwards
    each second – perfectly representing Michelle’s words “racing at a snail’s pace towards the grave, creating childhood as it goes.”
    Thank you both.

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