Sep 26, 2008

Poetry Friday: The Second Sense

Of five. Or six if you count paranormal sensitivity. Or seven if you could a sense of duty. Eight if you include a sense of impending doom. Nine if you wanna add in a sense of wonder. And what about that most important sense, the one I lack, a sense of style?

I wonder how many Poetry Fridays Mona actually wants to do? This could get iiiinteresting.

S'okay. Poetry Friday. Listening, ears, hearing, all the things that go with the aural senses. I'll tell you up front and quite frankly that I'm drawing something of a blank here. Usually I'll check Mona's Thursday warning post from my computer at work and I'll let it sit on the back burner and toss things into it as the day goes on. I'll stir and taste and take things out and put other things in, and usually by the end of the day I've got something fairly tasty.

Except this is the sense of hearing. *sigh*

Clowncar likes to point out that I've got a positive knack for seeing the surreal in life, and the small things, the little details. I have to say that being a man I am primarily visual--I look at things, use visual reference points for most everything, and the sight of a lovely pair of breasts will have me smiling all day, but I listen, too. A long time ago I heard someone trot out the old chestnut that we were born with two ears and one mouth and we should use them in that ratio. Mixed in with that is the old Oriental teachings surrounding the fact that to truly learn you have to listen, not just hear. Lots of little bits and pieces like that have found their way through my ears and found rich soil in my brain in which to root, and in the process I've learned how much you can learn by listening.

I like hearing the difference in the exhaust note between a Harley and a metric cruiser. Harleys have a strange, unsettled sound to them ("potatoe, potatoe," as they'd have you believe,) a sound that tells my ears they're about to stall at any moment even though they're revved up, while metrics have a smooth, even throbbing sound, much more pleasant.

I learned years ago how to 'critically listen' to a sound system, how a well-recorded piece of music on a good sound system will produce an auditory 'sound stage' in your mind's ear. I like putting on some Dire Straits or Steely Dan, sitting in the sweet spot in front of my speakers and being able to hear where each instrument 'is' in space, in it's own position, clear and surrounded, as it were, by air.

Now you're starting to see why I don't write about hearing. *s* Is hard to do!

I never notice how much noise there is in my house until the power goes off, like it did for days during Gustav. Suddenly there's no quiet hum of power in the lines, no fans cooling the computer, no sub-audible noises from the tv or the computer monitors. My mother in law said she loves coming to my house because it's so quiet. I find it hard to believe after hearing the wonderful quiet of having no electricity sizzling around.

I love listening to the sounds outside my house. There's an almost constant musical cacophany out there and all you have to do is listen. The jays make their loud, startling screeches, the ring-neck doves call in that sad soft drone of theirs, and the mockingbirds each spend their day running through their entire repertoire of calls and hoots and whistles for whatever reason mockingbirds do that. There's always the sharp bark of a squirrel chiding a mocking bird or jay who has gotten too close, and if you're quiet enough and listening for it you can often hear the far-away long-long-short-long blast of the train horns away across the bayou as they approach the crossings. If you're out late on a weekend night you can even hear the rednecks next door warming up for Redneck Dinner Theater, trying to shout each other down.

Inside there's always an animal somewhere, making a whole repertoire of sounds. The cats talk to each other and their humans in a wide range of vocalisations, each specific to each cat, and only if you listen close can you tell what they want. Penny, who sleeps between the pillows on the bed at night makes a barely audible whistling sound when she sleeps deeply; not quite a snore, not quite just breathing noises. It's the only way to tell she's getting "that Good Sleep." Belle rustles around in her kennel turning, resettling her eighty pound bulk with a quiet rattle and a soft sussurus of fur against the metal, then a soft groan like an old man coming to rest when she finds where she wants to be and curls back up.

I still miss my old trailer for it's metal roof. The walls were thin and metal and the roof was barely thicker than a coke can, but when it rained you knew it--how hard and how heavy, how long and how windy. There was a music to the rain on that roof that could lull me to sleep faster than any soporific drug. Then, when the rain stopped there was always the soft patter of water as it gathered on the sides of the house and dripped to the puddles below, a whole symphony of tiny plinks and plops.

I often say, offhandedly, that I'd go mad if I were to lose my vision, but in complete honesty, and I'm not asking you to take a rusty spoon to my orbs but if I had to lose one or t'other I almost think I'd rather lose vision than hearing. To be truly without the constant sounds of the world in my ears, not to mention the sound I carry with me everywhere--heart pumping, lungs inflating and deflating; to lose those and the million and one little sounds that make up the tapestry of Life would be a loss I'd not care to endure.


Mona Buonanotte said...

Clowncar is right. You have the knack for magnifying everyday things into something beautiful.

I LOVE the sound of rain on a thin roof. And Steely Dan. If I could hear them simultaneously I'm sure I'd die of aural orgasm...Ahhh....

meno said...

wouldn't that be an auralgasm?

Nancy Dancehall said...

Yeah, aural stimulation is the best...

Stucco said...

I used to work with a blind guy and (surprise) asked him loads of inappropriate and vulgar questions. He had a seeing eye dog that frequently had erections, and I asked about that. I also asked about porn, and he said that he liked to listen to porno's. Me, I could live without the "bow chicka bow bow" music and damp meaty slapping sounds, but different strokes as it were.

Oh, and I'm letting the whole Steely Dan subject lie. See? I can take things in stride...

Maggie said...

Geez if I keep following Stucco I'll never have anything to say.

"different strokes" "meaty slapping sounds" - I mean really, what's a girl gonna say after that?

Irrelephant said...

Mona, why am I not surprised (and somewhat pleased) that you managed to introduce sex into the first comment? *g*

Only if you experience repeated pleasant spasms in your ear canal, meno.

Nancy, you're starting to sound like a Ferengi. This troubles me deeply.

Having to LISTEN to a porn? Wow. I think I might rather just die. *lol* And thank you for your astounding feat of restraint! Are you feeling at all well?

Maggie, that's what Schmoop always says, too. *snort*

Mother of Invention said...

I love the sound of rain on the roof! My all-time fav is a loon cry. You're so right about not realizing how much noise there is around us until the power goes off. (And when the loud air con goes off outside!)I love being up in the bush where there is so little noise, you have to strain your ears against the silence just to give yourself a frame of reference.
And I do love a great sound system where you can even hear the tinkling of subtle bells on a track! The new tiny Bose (?)are amazing for their lack of size!

I admit, I'd rather lose my sense of hearing than sight though.

Clowncar said...

Whatever I had to say was flushed out of my brain by reading "damp meaty slapping sounds." My eyes! My eyes!