I have a need of silence and of stars.She is walking on the campus at night, the poem in her head, and around her is nothing but silence and stars. She writes: "In the beautiful spring night, I was dedicated to wanting a beautiful spring night. To be transported to it was what I wanted. Whatever a poem was about -- that it could be called "Home" didn't matter -- it was about somewhere else, somewhere distant and far."
Too much is said too loudly. I am dazed.
The silken sound of whirled infinity
Is lost in voices shouting to be heard...
What she felt that night became a theme of Welty's life: that one could stay put but still travel far. She spent most of her life in Jackson, Mississippi, in the house where she was born, but she considered herself a citizen of the world. The first chapter of her autobiography is called "Listening." Good advice for any of us who want to be citizens of the world -- or of the universe. We mean it metaphorically, of course, but we cock our ears for the silken sound of whirled infinity -- the galaxies turning on their languorous axes, the pulsars spinning in their millisecond compactness.