Tinnitus is a not uncommon hearing disorder I learned about in medical school. I hadn’t thought much about it until recently when my spouse developed the problem on an increasingly regular basis. After dragging her to one of my ENT colleagues, we were relieved to learn that she didn’t have a rare tumor called acoustic neuroma or any other brain dysfunction. That was the good news. The bad news is that despite the number of sufferers and multiplicity of attempted treatments, none have been found to be uniformly successful. It remains to this day an annoyance to be tolerated.
Poetry has long drawn on the noisiness of the human body to make music from language. The poet does an admirable job of underscoring the poetry-music connection both in the structure of the work as well as in its musical references. Hope you enjoy it.
Occasionally it sounds like
a cathedral tower full of bells
but usually it’s more like the last
scatter if cicadas at the end of summer,
an almost pleasant buzz and whirr,
thought with a slightly higher pitch,
as at night once the light has gone
and daytime noise has faded.
Crescendos rise then fall
in soft waves and reverberate
like keening voices
in Ligeti’s Lux Aeterna
lift and drop, pierce
and penetrate, throb
and smooth and finally
come to rest.
- Gregory Luce