What Does Sadness Sound Like?

Poetry in free verse

What Does Sadness Sound Like?
Photo by Kinga Cichewicz on Unsplash

Poetry in free verse

Sadness sounds like the ringing of the phone’s alarm
you’re too tired to pay heed to,
and so, you casually turn it off,
roll over in bed with your blanket covering your face,
and pretend it’s okay — 
that the world can function without you for a day,
that your piled-up work won’t pile up further.
(It’s only one day, isn’t it?)

Sadness sounds the constant whirr of the ceiling fan
rotating relentlessly over your head
as you stare at it tracing circles on your empty ceiling
lying in bed,
unable to fall asleep,
hearing the hours tick by.
(You’ve never been good at anything. Sleep isn’t an exception)

Sadness sounds like the crunch
of a potato cracker in your mouth,
as you sit on the couch staring at the television,
munching chips because you are still hungry
in spite of the instant noodles,
the tub of ice-cream,
the twenty bars of chocolate — 
because no matter how much you eat,
you are never full.
(Maybe food cannot fill you up if your heart is empty)

Sadness sounds like the waves of endless chatter
the people around you drown in — 
talking about everything, yet nothing at all,
and how, no matter how hard you try,
you cannot find a place
for yourself
in the conversation.
(Why would they want to talk to you, anyway?)

Sadness sounds like the ring of the phone
that sends a shiver down your spine,
(who could it be, what do they want with me?)
the ring you’ve learned to ignore
because, by now, even your friends know
to expect nothing from you
(Have you ever been anything but a disappointment?)

Sadness sounds like a dying plant’s last breath — 
the one your mother had gifted
so you could have a roommate —
anyone — anything — to fill up the emptiness in your room.
But it depended on you for water,
and you had never learned how to water your soul,
how could you care for a plant
that can’t open its mouth to protest?
And so, it dies,
leaving you with another regret
(one more reason to hate yourself)

Sadness sounds like hastily wiped-off tears,
like the protests of a father who says you never call him back,
like the nothingness of everything you hide each time you say “I’m fine”,
like the sobs that echo in your room on an empty night,
but sometimes — 
maybe most of the times — 
sadness sounds like the laugh that does not reach your eyes
(It’s been so long, you’ve learned to hide it well)

Author’s note: If you liked this piece of work, you would definitely enjoy my best (and previously unpublished) poems which are curated in my book: Stolen Reflections: Some Stories Are Told in Verse. It is a collection of 100 poems exploring 15 different traditional poetry forms, including the haiku, tanka, limerick, palindrome and the modern free verse.

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