Green Hills Literary Lantern



Voice Lesson


In breaking open

over stones

water finds its voice.


Forced through shallows

where the rough bottom

cracks the surface

or surging past

the danger of being

dammed, it murmurs

in silver sibilance.


But where water pools,

the heavy darkness groans

out a stifled lament

for the rolling, guttural

trill--distant now,

as muted as


the images and voice

pressed beneath my

surface by the flow of time

and flood of duty

until the weight

bears down on my heart,


which I touch often,

mirroring Dimmesdale’s

gesture not his guilt,

pointing like him to


the burden of a buried self—

invisible, mute,

drowning in

the carrying on.




Mary Echlin has taught high school and college for thirty years, including her current position as an administrator at Kimberton Waldorf School. Originally from California, she has lived in Chester County, Pennsylvania, since 1991. “Nature is one of my main inspirations; living on French Creek—a protected watershed—allows me to see many different kinds of wildlife. In addition to the silence and solitude that nurture my writing, I enjoy perennial gardening, traveling, and exploring universal spirituality.”