humiliation of course, but a burden lifting

Consider Svevo's Zeno, giving up smoking,
or Kafka's hunger artist's more startling feats
of abjuration, or any meditating
Mitzi or Mindy, concentrating on breathing
and trying, minute by exquisitely protracted
minute, not to move a muscle, and you
have arrived at the problem of silence with its discomforts
but its blandishments, too. As the days go by, I discover

how little difference it makes, or ever made,
and I recognize how little anyone cares.
I am not so different or special. Or interesting.
A humiliation of course, but a burden lifting,
or suppose that a fever has broken and, weak as a baby,
or mute, I confront the errors of my life.

[David R. Slavitt, 'Silence' from "Sleep Set: A Sonnet Sequence" in The Seven Deadly Sins and Other Poems]

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