Silence is not golden.
I’ll differ with you here.
__Silence is an awful trap
Lined with sharpest fear.
Silence plays a part
Only after we
__Use our words of wisdom on
Things that should not be.

Silence is not golden.
Ask the Jews of Germany.
__It’s yellow as a coward’s belly.
Truth can set man free.
Silence is not golden.
It is a proven fact
__Speaking up is worth it, but
Be prepared to act.

Silent majorities
Speaking not of sin
__Are the ones responsible
For the mess we’re in.
We all have a duty:
Judge, fix, and change.
__Government and social worlds
Must be de-deranged.

Silence may be golden
At home, in church, or school.
__It may be a good tactic when
Talking to a fool.
Silence isn’t golden.
It’s a predator’s friend.
__When’s the best time for silence?
When demons meet their end.



LTC Roy E. Peterson is a writer, retired U.S. Army Military Intelligence Officer, Foreign Area Officer, and Foreign Commercial Officer who currently resides in Texas.

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15 Responses

  1. Brian Yapko

    Roy, I love this strong poem which calls us to action. Your message rings out loud, clear and is desperately needed. You call to mind the Elie Wiesel quote: “Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” Very well done indeed.

    • Roy E. Peterson

      Wonderful reference to someone who knows the problem all too well! I
      appreciate your comments very much!

      • Patricia Redfern

        You hit it out of the park with this one!
        ” Silence isn’t golden…It’s a predator’s friend.”
        One of the best lines I ever read in poetry. Then.! Getting into action.
        So, so grateful to you for this incredibly for this poem for humanity! Bless you!

  2. Paul Freeman

    Your message is a sound one, Roy. Being brave enough to speak out and air what you genuinely believe is true, whether against a prevailing viewpoint or for a prevailing viewpoint, should be respected.

    Speaking out should not result in a verbal drubbing, stones being cast, or, as history has often demonstrated, worse.

  3. BDW

    as per Wilude Scabere:

    According to garrulous Gratiano, “…silence is only commendable in a neat’s tongue dried and a maid not vendible.”

  4. Mike Bryant

    I really like this poem, Roy. We have been silent for too long. Speaking of schools and churches… many of them have been taken over by the global authoritarians. We need to speak up to our local churches and our local school boards if we want to fight this new wave of racism and tyranny.
    Here is an Englishman who has become an American citizen explaining freedom to his authoritarian school board. Those who would rule over us oftentimes need to be straightened out or fired or both!
    Enjoy the article and the video:

    Our constitution was written to protect each of us from an overreaching government. We do NOT have to be nice to them, they must serve US.

    • Roy E. Peterson

      You are absolutely on the mark. We do need “to speak up to our local churches and our local school boards!” You are the perfect one to explain freedom and counter authoritarian organizations. I applaud your thoughts and efforts!

    • Cynthia Erlandson

      Thank you, Mike — loved the video. And your poem, too, Roy.

  5. C.B. Anderson

    It’s funny when one realizes that “silence” rhymes with “violence.”

  6. Margaret Coats

    Good reflection on a proverb that applies much less often than we think. Golden and yellow are shades of the same color, but with different symbolism, as you point out in stanza 2. Some bad things about silence are apparent to anyone giving it any thought. Ethicist Sissela Bok, who said common human values are opposed to violence, deception, and betrayal, added silence or concealment as a fourth universal evil, because it enables the other three to happen.

    Excellent choice of illustration by Evan (I suppose), featuring all those brass instruments about to bring down the walls of Jericho with noise.

  7. David Watt

    You make your point extremely well Roy. The silence of the majority enables and encourages those who promote the numerous perversions we see today, just as it has throughout history.

  8. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    Roy, it is becoming increasingly difficult to speak the truth. I have a constant battle every day at work and it is disheartening and fatiguing. It’s poetry like yours that spurs me on and I thank you for your words of wisdom and wonder. I especially like; “de-deranged”. I think we must all partake in a spot of verbal de-deranging before this insanity goes any further. As always, thank you for saying clearly and poetically what few will.


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