I turn off the radio, listen to the quiet. Which has its own, rich sound. Which I knew, but had forgotten. And it is good to remember.

Elizabeth Berg, Open House

Silence is like a river of grace inviting us to leap unafraid into its beckoning depths. It is dark and mysterious in the waters of grace. Yet in the silent darkness we are given new eyes. . . . There are those among you who fear the Great Silence. It is a foreign land to you. Sometimes it is good to leap into the unknown. Practice leaping.

Macrina Wiederkehr

Silence is a solvent that destroys personality, and gives us leave to be great and universal.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

There is something in the nature of silence which always affects me deeply. Why it is I know not; but I do know that I love to be alone at such an hour as this. I love to forget the outward world and hold communion with the beings of the mind.

Charles Lanman

I have often lamented that we cannot close our ears with as much ease as we can our eyes.

Richard Steele

Billions of stars sift among each other untouched, too distant even to be moved, heedless as always, hushed. The sea pronounces something, over and over, in a hoarse whisper; I cannot quite make it out. But God knows I have tried.

Annie Dillard

I have felt and hoped to have led other people to feel that the sounds of their environment constitute a music which is more interesting than the music which they would hear if they went into a concert hall.

John Cage

What we hear is the quality of our listening.

Robert Fripp

People never expect silence. They expect words, motion, defense, offense, back and forth. They expect to leap into the fray. They are ready, fists up, words leaping forth from their mouths. Silence? No.

Alison McGhee, All Rivers Flow to the Sea

I / fall into noisy abstraction, / cling to sound as if it were the last protection / against what I cannot name.

Paula Gunn Allen, “Shadows”

If we don’t sit down and shut up once in a while we’ll lose our minds even earlier than we had expected. Noise is an imposition on sanity, and we live in very noisy times.

Joan Baez

I think it’s OK not to talk, not to make, not to create, not to produce, produce, produce. How can we listen to the world if we are always talking to the world?

Ada Limón

Silence . . . is when we hear inwardly, sound when we hear outwardly.

Henry David Thoreau

You have a grand gift of silence, Watson. . . . It makes you quite invaluable as a companion.

Arthur Conan Doyle, “The Man with the Twisted Lip”

Silences, as every observer knows, have strange characteristics all their own — passionate silences, and hateful silences, and silences full of friendly, purring content.

Alice Duer Miller, The Charm School

No sounds of footsteps, no people chattering, no radios, no bamboo, no kotos being tuned. In that short moment, Yoshio couldn’t even hear the sound of his own breath. Everything felt still inside him. Peaceful, like the garden after it snowed. Like feather-stuffed futons drying in the sun.

Katrina Goldsaito, The Sound of Silence

First, silence makes us pilgrims. Secondly, silence guards the fire within. Thirdly, silence teaches us to speak.

Henri J.M. Nouwen

Everybody should be quiet near a little stream and listen.

Ruth Krauss, Open House for Butterflies