silence stretches for an instant,
then succumbs to summer’s racket:
children shrilling out a need;
a doorbell scored by a hawker’s thumb;
pavements alive with clicking heels;
the cool white noise of news, urgent
to natter and bleed through walls.
construction sites to eavesdrop on;
generations making dissent and din —
whine, groan, roar, moan, hum.
Sounds spelling it out as song:
shivery nuances, rising pitches,
acoustic ripples, transmission glitches,
snap of teeth and pop of bubblegum.
the hit tune warbled from the shower,
while the furthest stars since their birth
have been singing like a lawnmower
on a fine Saturday afternoon,
heard from so far away from earth
it’s almost not heard, no more than
than absent hiss on a sonic detector.
sing you singers — the time of singing
is not over yet, so sing, echo on echo.
Sounds of many call over the bay;
carry me back, they sing to us;
and in the end all are chosen;
our songs lifted from below,
torn from earth to float away.
those chords of glory, that grandiose talk,
those notes raised by an orator leaping:
Holy musicola, and do-rag promises,
old hee-haw of the donkey caravan;
or snicker-snacker-snick of barber scissors;
Nazi bellow at the Nuremberg Rally —
a cut-off, chicken-plucking horrid squawk.
has twelve thousand semi-tones;
and there’s a magic drone that blesses
those who feel it — have you heard, have you heard?
I have heard monkish choirs, skeletons tap-dancing,
seventy-six trombones, a hurdy-gurdy that swirled,
blood’s steady drumbeat, polychromatic cellphones:
all sounds speaking with the mouth of the world.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
David Eggleton lives in Dunedin, where he is a poet, writer and arts journalist whose work has appeared in the Listener, Art New Zealand, New Zealand Books, Art News, Architecture New Zealand, Urbis, Landfall and many other publications. Soundings is a cascade of images that was triggered, curiously enough, by the election of Barack Obama as President of the United States at the end of 2008.