We have talked about hearing loss before. We have also talked about selective hearing. The two are mutually exclusive. Mantra is here to tell you there is a third version of hearing loss.
The reason our devices all have bells and whistles, shrill and annoying, are to alert us when someone is reaching out for communication. Whether we really want the message being delivered is a moot point. The bell tolls when another reaches out to us.
Why a bell?
It is designed to be a sound out of place in our normal hearing, the soundtrack of our lives. It means to jostle us from what occupies our time, so we will interrupt what we are doing to focus on the one who wants our attention.
What happens when we do not hear it?
The Ring is not a story of being engrossed in other things and missing the call. It is not about choosing to ignore the bell. The Ring is about a completely different silence.
I struggle to hear even the softest sound.
When did my hearing fail?
Sitting under the maple tree
Turning the pages of a novel,
The bluebirds’ song in my ears.
I held my breath to listen
For the familiar ring.
As I concentrated to hear,
The birds’ song faded away,
A silence inside my brain
Washing away the wildlife,
Wind and the leaves rustling.
Back in the house, I cranked it up
Singing at the top of my lungs.
The oven beeped, dinner ready.
Silence pushed out the music
Waiting for the doorbell to ring.
Pull back the covers and climb in.
The sheets cool, reach for the remote.
Canned laughter between silly ads.
I mute the show to crane my neck
Hoping my ear catches the “bing”
Of an email delivery.
The sounds of night fade straight away.
Wistfully, it occurs to me.
The incommunicado caused
The silence…not loss of hearing.
(c) Red Dwyer
What is the person in the poem feeling? What message is on the other side of the ring? Will the bell toll? Should it?
(c) Red Dwyer 2012
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