Hearing Things

Hearing Things

I stopped hearing things –


to be precise 

I was not aware of the things

I was hearing


I heard them so often

they no longer registered 

like the rumble of the subway

the sound fades 

I only notice when it stops 

not that it is silent

but something is missing


some sounds

I always hear

like the ticking of a watch

a clock

when I got my first electronic alarm

that only sounded when it rang

I had my first night of real sleep


I eventually stopped hearing

emotional chatter

the noise of angry squirrels 

reminds me of moments in the past


that could alarm me with shame




not that I’ve forgotten them

not that I’m unaware

the subway still runs

and sometimes I take a ride

but I no longer wonder

if that rumble

is my fault

When I was living with my family in Sydney (Cape Breton) I moved my bedroom to the rumpus room in the basement where was cooler in the summer & warmer in the winter. It was like living in a comfy cave with one window at group level. Being in the basement the room was near the furnace. The hum of it heating the house would put me to sleep many nights. I missed that hum when I moved out on my own.

When I arrived in Toronto decades ago I was unprepared for the constant traffic flow, unprepared for the almost constant sound of ambulance & fire engine sirens. On top of which was the rumble of streetcars & the subway. When we moved into our house in the east end of the city it nearly on top of the subway tunnel &, as we later discovered, also above the underground turnoff that took the trains to the east end transit yard.

China rattled on shelves, panes in windows rattled, water in glasses would vibrate. I gradually ‘silenced’ most of those rattles with cloth or shims. After a year I stopped noticing the rumble of the underground but guests to our house nearly always notice it as the trains pass by nearly very five to ten minutes all day. The sound doesn’t stop but I stop hearing it. I don’t notice the sirens as much anymore too.

I did have issues with ticking alarm clocks – the first clock radio I had was a Godsend but those early ones had flip down numbers that I could hear too 😦 I’d have to put them far enough away that I didn’t hear the numbers change but close enough to hear when the radio came on. Thanks to the march of science that’s no longer an issue. My cell phone makes only the noises I want.

The piece also alludes to the emotional noise of people – usually people in distress – that I’ve learned to acknowledge without getting overly caught up in it, unless I’ve contributed to it somehow & even then I don’t take blame for reactions that are more theirs than anything else. 

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

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