Some. like myself, have echo chambers in the brain.
We hear a sound, the sound gets trapped, runs round again.
All sound is in the brain, of course, does not exist
outside. Outside are fluctuations in the air,
its pressures on the inner ear equipped to turn
them into signals to the brain, where we live through
them in the form of sound. For some years now I've had
just such a chamber in my head. One ear has lost
its usefulness; the nerve, unstimulated and,
like all of nature in its hatred of the smallest
of near-vacuums, has learnt self-stimulation,
composing its own music and defying me
to tell the difference. It lays a single note
from somewhere in the body, runs it round a few
times, adding overtones and undertones and half
tones to the score. It's chamber music with a penny
difference, the sound-equivalent of being stood
between two mirrors, seeing endless images
extending into space. Sometimes the music sounds
like speech, like voices murmuring from far away;
sometimes the notes are dragged through water, lose their shape.
At times, I feel for those distinguished or deluded
souls who think they hear God's voice - or angels - telling
them what they should think and do. And then I think of
all the sounds the world creates, suggestive of our
human speech: the deep voice of the ocean, for
a start, and I can understand their guilessness.
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