Sunday, May 27, 2007

two rivers

I'm trying to remember the name of a book featured at the Frankfurt Book Fair last year about a woman who was deaf all her life, but becomes able to hear as an adult. When asked what she thought the most beautiful sound was, she said birdsong. Asked what was the worst, she said a crying baby. The baby is interesting, because although there are other louder and more grating sounds -airplanes, jackhammers, techno music blaring from some idiot's car- the baby's crying throws us into the whole why of it, and fingers our sympathies.

I always thought the most beautiful sound was water flowing in a stream or river. On the other hand, listening to the faucet run makes my skin crawl. That's why I say I have two rivers in me.

Waterfall

I like to think in the end
there is no ice, no fire,
only the sound of water.

When day’s empty hand turns
over to dusk, again I hear it
as if it had moved closer -
the waterfall tossing itself
down like a rope, long,
loosely wound, dropping
to the foot of the mountain.

Somewhere far from here,
its stream is untangling.
Somewhere it travels
an unfinished road.

Every night against the silence,
I listen to it tumbling.
I let the sound empty me;
I feel it lower me, dreamless to sleep.
Every night it’s there
in my ear, leaving,
arriving.

2 comments:

Dave said...

I love this. I don't think I'll be able to see a waterfall again without thinking of this imagery.

SarahJane said...

what a compliment - thanks.

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