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Short Wave

Tuning the endless white noise.

Interminable. One faint

voice after another.

Mixed

audio detritus came

and went, discarded, dialled

out of mind as the needle’s

searchlight moved on, pausing when

a pitch or a tone cut through,

tricking the ear to engage

as an eye deceives itself.

A shout or prayer, a cry

like a hand lifted for help,

calling out in the dark, drowned

in the boredom of seeking,

(always excused with hindsight,

just too quiet to notice,

as we might convince ourselves

a trick of the light perhaps,

it’s easy to miss these things.)

The forgiveness of ourselves,

amnesia of conscience

hides us from what we are.

In the end, I don’t recall,

for all the weary scanning,

if we ever found anything

worth attending to at all.

Ears hear but a mind listens,

and as Thoreau said, it’s not

what you look at that matters,

it’s what you see. (Or choose to.)

 

From: Camera Obscura (Rockingham Press)

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Camera Obscura Published Seán Street's new book - his ninth complete collection of poems - is Camera Obscura, published on 9 May by Rockingham Press. Responses to the poems incl... Read more...
Elias - a film-poem Elias, a film-poem by Seán Street commissioned by Salisbury Cathedral as part of its Magna Carta celebrations, is available on the Cathedral's website. The f... Read more...
The Memory of Sound in paperback Seán Street's book, The Memory of Sound: Preserving the Sonic Past, was published in paperback on 1 June, 2016 by Routledge as part of its Research... Read more...