by Thomas Lux
Whatever is too stupid to say can be sung.
The human voice can sing a vowel to break your heart. It trills a string of banal words, but your blood jumps, regardless. You don’t care about the words but only how they’re sung and the music behind-the brass, the drums. Oh the primal, necessary drums behind the words so dumb! That power, the bang and the boom and again the bang we cannot, need not, live without, nor without other means to make sweet noise, the guitar or violin, the things that sing the plaintive, joyful sounds. Which is why I like songs best when I can’t hear the words, or, better still, when there are no words at all.
“Regarding (Most) Songs” by Thomas Lux from The Street of Clocks. © Houghton Mifflin Company, 2001.
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