Describing Sound to the Deaf

It is more than simply a vibration,
a finite number of beats across time
that enter the senses to resonate
and seek to move against the immobile;

there is a color and taste to it, too,
that fills the mouth with flavor and substance,
plays against the eye in patterns of light.
By turns, it is warm or cool to the touch,

and may fill the mind with joy or with dread.
It is alive, ever-changing, and moves
across great distances; as its echo
fades, it is absorbed in other new forms:

the whir of wings, the rustle of dry leaves,
the drip of a faucet, a tinkling laugh.

Drawing it in, we bring the world to us,
open, undisguised and without deceit –
where vision fails, in its grandiose quest
to reach out, conquer, and quickly discern

between the illusions it is offered,
the ear, with its passive, receptive scan
finds no separations, no division
between the self and the sacred other.

19 MAY 2003

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