Some couples are masters of marital hush
and some of connubial noise,
for silence gives many old marrieds a rush
while the younger ones find that it cloys.
We play music louder when first we get married,
while, aging, we find more endearing
the sounds of our silence and rarely get carried
away by loud noise, hard of hearing.
Please don't be offended by this sharp analysis,
pay attention, I beg, to the moral:
We give up the noise in return for paralysis,
hush at the end of a quarrel.
Randy Cohen reviews Michael Frayn's 'Headlong' (Henry Holt) in The New York Times Book Review, August 29,1999 ('A Question of Attribution') . Cohen writes
Later, in a scene that establishes Frayn as a master of marital hush, he stages a quarrel conducted entirely without words, with husband and wife in separate rooms -'all that can be heard is the creak of the floorboards, and I realize that Kate's walking up and down the room, as if she were parodying me below.'
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