may my heart always be open to little
birds who are the secrets of living
whatever they sing is better than to know
and if men should not hear them men are old
Another sweltering June rolls around, coinciding with the anniversary of my birth. As the years accumulate and as the children become less and less childlike, the great outdoors and its wild unrehearsed cacophony of sound becomes more and more penetrating. Can it be that one’s hearing actually improves with age?
Here in Hong Kong, with the window of our Apartment in the Sky open, the sounds are loud, human-made. The monotonous rumble of vehicles, the traffic lights that insistently beep pedestrians across the road, the honking of impatient drivers, the roar of a passing plane, the crash and clatter of construction workers. But interspersed within that Noise, are other small sounds. A dog barks playfully. A bird trills joyfully. A child shouts, in anguish? in delight? It is hard to tell, but it is a child nonetheless. A song plays on a radio. The Great Hong Kong Outdoors is, for us, an uncoordinated symphony of sounds, unfettered expressions of lives being lived. It is these sounds that inspired my (so far) only published creative work, a prose poem entitled Life We Can No Longer See which appeared in the January 2019 issue of Cha, the online literary journal. It is these sounds that surround us, every single moment of every single day. Can you hear them?
Stay cool, and keep reading.
Maureen, Anna & Ben