UCU Strike Poems 5 – Day of Song, Day of Silence, by Ada Limón


Day of Song, Day of Silence


The strange crying sounds
of the peacocks on the private
school grounds echo on perfect
lawns, and I remember the unruly
feathered fowl of my earlier years
that draped the flimflam landscape
of the home of the first girl I ever kissed.
The students today make a vow
of silence to honor gay and lesbian kids
who’ve been bullied, so when we visit
and read poems, they can’t speak,
they are silent for those that are silenced.
And I’m thinking now of making out
with Sarah, and how later we made
pickle and mayonnaise sandwiches
and sat by the edge of her empty pool–
our legs swinging into nothingness,
the sun’s heat at our backs, the sounds
of peacocks screaming, at first harmless,
then like some far-off siren.

Ada Limón, from Bright Dead Things (Milkweed Editions, 2015)



The university that I work for is currently in conflict with the union that I belong to, the UCU, over Universities UK’s (UUK) proposed changes to the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS).

This has resulted in lecturers like me taking strike action.

You can read more about the reasons some of us have for taking this action here and here.

For the next few days of strike action I am going to be posting poems on my blog whose subject matter is the world of work and/or education.

On this seventh day of strike action we read Day of Song, Day of Silence, by Ada Limón.


You can follow the #USSStrike hashtag on Twitter here and the #UCUStrike hashtag here.

If you can take the time to retweet or share this poem via social media I would be so grateful.


The views posted in this blog are mine alone and do not represent those of my employer.

One comment

  1. lesleyjjackson

    This poem brings back memories of my childhood in India, hearing the peacocks in a nearby garden from my classroom window, the lure of empty swimming pools, the sun’s heat on the top of my head.


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