Hearing loss? Yes, loss is what we hear
who are starting to go deaf. Loss
trails a lot of weird puns in its wake, viz.
Dad’s a real prism of the Left –
you’d like me to repeat that?
THE SAD SURREALISM OF THE DEAF.
It’s mind over mutter at work
guessing half what the munglers are saying
and society’s worse. Punchlines elude to you
as Henry Lawson and other touchy drinkers
have claimed. Asides, too, go pasture.
It’s particularly nasty with a wether.
First you crane at people, face them
while you can still face them. But grudgually
you give up dinnier parties; you begin
to think about Beethoven; you Hanover
next visit here on silly Narda Fearing – I SAY
YOU CAN HAVE AN EXQUISITE EAR
AND STILL BE HARD OF HEARING.
It seems to be mainly speech, at first,
that escapes you – and that can be a rest,
the poor man’s escape itch from Babel.
You can still hear a duck way upriver,
a lorry miles off on the highway. You
can still say boo to a goose and
read its curt yellow-lipped reply.
You can shout SING UP to a magpie,
but one day soon you must feel
the silent stopwatch chill your ear
in the doctor’s rooms, and be wired
back into a slightly thinned world
with a faint plastic undertone to it
and, if the rumours are true, snatches
of static, music, police transmissions:
it’s a BARF minor Car Fourteen prospect.
But maybe hearing aids are now perfect
and maybe it’s not all that soon.
Sweet nothings in your ear are still sweet;
you’ve heard the human range by your age
and can follow most talk from memory;
the peace of the graveyard’s well up
on that of the grave. And the world would
enjoy peace and birdsong for more moments
if you were head of government, enquiring
of an aide Why, Simpkins, do you tell me
a warrior is a ready flirt?
I might argue – and flowers keep blooming
as he swallows his larynx to shriek
our common mind-overloading sentence:
I’M SORRY, SIR, IT’S A RED ALERT!
by Les Murray