Tuesday, October 9, 2012

               Deafening Decay

Delight to some, to others desecration
Eradicating every single chance
At peaceful, soul-enriching contemplation
Fostering the hope for sweet romance.
Ears and mind, instead, sit stunned –– assaulted.
Noxious noise befouls the atmosphere 
In throbbing pseudo-ecstasy exalted
Neutralizing all that’s clean and clear.
Ground out tones smacking of self-pity
Degrade the mise en scene where they appear,
Erasing what’s not grubby, gross or gritty
Catering, instead, to our worst fears.
Aggravation never ceasing breeds
Yammering lemmings aping Satan’s leads.

~ FreeThinke

Would anyone like to hazard a guess as to what this might mean? I'd love to hear your interpretation whatever it might be.

~ FT


  1. I interpret this as a plea to YOUR subconscious desire to STOP blogging politics entirely.

  2. In other words, to leave the realm of the temporally limited and escape to the timelessness of the eternally relevant.

  3. Interesting thought, FJ. You may be right, in that politics has become increasingly idiotic, repetitious, fraught with clichés, and appears impervious both to Insight, and Reason.

    However, the sonnet was quite deliberately aimed at something else I find even more objectionable.

    I do appreciate your coming here, even though at times, because you know so much than I you to which you may allude, i find you nearly inscrutable.

    What I long for, which ought to be obvious to a man of your perspicacity, is to people interested in "reading between the lines," as it were.

    So few seem to recognize much less understand figurative language, symbolism and parable or fable when they see it.

    Imposing a purely literal interpretation on everything is about as stultifying and soul-deadening as it could get.

    One often feels on the verge of suffocation in such an atmosphere.

    Oh well ... such is life, eh?

    ~ FT

  4. Someone went by your place with an old boom box blaring Snoop Dog?

  5. Perhaps you're lamenting all of the polemic going around these days? Maybe even mud slinging?

    I'm not very good at interpreting poetry. I was a history and political science major, after all ;)

    In regards to your comment in response to FJ, I would say that there is value in speaking plainly. Camus does so in his essays, especially Letters. Just because the language isn't veild in literary devices doesn't mean that it lacks complexity.

    Just engaging in the discussion =)

  6. Partisan politics and the progressive politicization of every last damned thing at the federal level has embittered us all and will destroy us as a society.

    I too long to leave political blogging behind for the greener pastures of fictional prose.

    Ducky: That was a funny comment

  7. The five colors blind us to subtlety
    The five notes make us deaf to tranquility
    The five tastes dazzle our taste buds
    Hunting makes us hungry for more
    Precious articles make us their slaves
    Therefore a sage should refrain from stimulating the senses
    and should focus on his internal gaze and inner self

  8. I thought about the blogosphere first.

    Then I read the comments.

    So, I venture the media as my interpretation.

  9. Let's see....What do I view as most suffocating my own soul?

    Not making enough time to enjoy what's beautiful all around me. It's an election year. Damn.

  10. "Not making enough time to enjoy what's beautiful all around me. It's an election year. Damn."

    It seems that since 9/11, every year is an election year. It's all politics all the time, obtruding on all that is good and holy.

    I hate engaging in conspiracies, but I believe the political class are purposely disgusting us and confusing us in order to turn us off.

    If we finally throw up our hands and say to hell with it all, they can get on with their dirty bipartisan predations unmolested.

  11. Much as I hate to admit it, Ducky came the closest, albeit in his usual flippant fashion, to understanding exactly what prompted my writing the sonnet DEAFENING DECAY. The answer is in the title.

    Perhaps he remembered an earlier opus of mine shared before in the blogosphere, to which DEAFENING DECAY was written as a companion piece?

    At any rate, the target of my irritation and stern disapproval may be more obvious in the following [older] piece:

    The Boombox

    Nestled in a quiet glad so still
    One could hear a fluttering sparrow’s wing,
    Immersed in prayerful thought, I’d like to kill that
    Squawking, howling, growling, thumping thing
    Engrossing –– eating up –– my sacred space,
    Projecting Social Cancer at my head.
    Overtaking prayer it chokes like mace.
    Like mace it stings then stuns. My mind, well-fed,
    Leaps to battle the Invading Force,
    Usurping all my rights to meditate.
    The minions of the militantly coarse
    Idolize the fiends who violate
    Our right to think and feel from deep within
    Negating all that’s good with fearful din.

    ~ FreeThinke

  12. SilverFiddle, my friend, I agree wholeheartedly with both of your remarks. That, of course, is why I often feature poetry, classical music, examples of great poplar entertainment from more felicitious times, bits of homespun philosophy, and mood "pieces," etc.

    All-politics-all-the-time frankly makes one a dullard, and is apt to drive one to the brink either of madness or the grave anger of becoming a perpetual sourpuss, whiner, groaner, cynic or badgerer with the disposition of an odious, hyper-aggressive prosecuting attorney in a play or film.

    I think of the first amendment as a curse as much as I think of it as our greatest blessing, because it is, indeed, both.

    No one here has the power to stop objectionable things from being said in public, except in Europe where they can put you in jail for saying anything even faintly derogatory about the Jews, and the Middle east where they can put you to death in a gruesome, protracted fashion for just about anything those in power deem "offensive."

    Many D'Rats would love to stifle all negative commentary about their vile collectivist agenda, fo course, but have not been able to get away with it -- so far.

    As individuals we DO have the power to IGNORE and AVOID irritating political commentary, but most of us in the blogosphere feel compelled to RESPOND and try to REFUTE comments made by intellectual vermin like "Liberalmann," and "Steve" -- a practice that derails the conversation and focuses attention on the TROLL instead of the topic at hand.

    So in most cases exercising self-control has the ability to save us from succumbing to mental illness.

    However, the one thing in society we absolutely CANNOT ignore is the object of my chronic complaint expressed in both DEAFENING DECAY and THE BOOM BOX, and that is the ubiquitous, inescapable, increasingly obnoxious -- truly THREATENING problem of NOISE POLLUTION.

    Think about it. Like a slow-acting lethal poison subtly injected into the water supply -- or introduced in the very air we breathe -- noise pollution in my opinion is transforming us into a nation of churls an increasing number of whom are afflicted with ADD.

    ~ FreeThinke

  13. Jack,

    Over-specialization is one of the many things adversely affecting our quality of life. Until we become reacquainted with the ancient truth that ALL things are interrelated -- Art, Music, Poetry, Literature, Mathematics, Science, Philosophy, History and Religion, we will continue to divide ourselves into increasingly isolated splinter factions who little or no understanding and even less sympathy for one another.

    This process to which we've been subjecting ourselves ever since Science and Technology came to dominate our consciousness is quite literally causing Civilization to DISINTEGRATE -- fall apart, turn to dust.

    We may not, as individuals, ever be able to master the intricacies of each field of endeavor, but in order to regain a healthier sense of perspective about our place in the universe we must return to a curriculum that teaches a good basic understanding -- and appreciation -- of the contributions made in all fields BEFORE we concentrate -- as one of my professors in graduate school said -- on "learning more and more about less and less."

    Always glad to see you here, even though we often seem at odds.

    ~ FT

  14. Don't get me wrong. I'm all about liberal arts education. I see and appreciate the value of being made to think in different ways.

    I agree that overspecialization is not a good thing. It makes it a lot harder for people to understand each other.

  15. Well look at it this way, Freethinker.

    You can curse the nature of urban life (good luck) or you can relax and enjoy your John Cage moment.

  16. Urban life long ago ceased to be urbane, Ducky. That is why I have retreated to a small, private heavily wooded estate more than ten years ago, and spend most of my hours in the sanctity of surroundings, designed, owned, operated and controlled almost entirely by me and those in my employ who do my bidding.

    Trips to the supermarket, most restaurants, waiting rooms in labs and doctor's offices -- even the BEACH for Chrissakes! -- have turned into pure hell, because of the continual assault -- and I do not use that word lightly -- by ultra loud canned ""background music" of the vilest sort, and by morons yelling at the top of their lungs over their cell phones.

    It blasts from cars parked and in motion as well. No street corner is safe from the attack, and in the background everywhere I hear BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!

    Add to that the jarring, grating sound of harsh, shrill, uncultivated, unmodulated -- mostly female -- voices, and it's no wonder that I long for "The Sound of Silence -- when I'm not listening to something I truly WANT to hear.

    If it weren't the blessed invention of the MUTE button, I would have voluntarily checked out YEARS ago.

    ~ FT

  17. Doesn't happen to me that often. Maybe Boston is more civilized.

    On a day with good weather I can take my "photography walk" down the Greenway, swing into Fort Point and back up to the Public Gardens and the Commons.

    I was walking near the waterfront and I was startled by a bit of a roar, group of skateboarders. Got a few good shots.

    Of course can always head for the Japanese garden at the MFA or the courtyard at the BPL or the Isabella Gardner.

    Maybe life is just more manageable for the visually dominant? No, don't get me going on visual pollution. In "The Red Desert" Antonioni implies that the new city landscape can be experienced as beauty, we just have to adjust. I didn't buy it.

  18. Mt Auburn cemetery in Cambridge is to me one of the most beautiful places in the area, Ducky.

    I am a native New Yorker, and was fortunate to experience the magic of that great city when it was still in its prime back in the 1940's and early '50's -- a Magic Town, indeed!

    However, when I first visited Boston -- at age ten -- I fell instantly in love with the place, and have always regretted not spending more time there, ever since.

    My impression was a respect for its past kept you city from becoming too overtly "modern." There's an aura of Old World gentility about the place that may be illusory, but it's still enjoyable, nevertheless.

    One of the great things about New York was the way it allowed one to be both down and dirty or hoity toity depending on one's mood at any given time.
    The ability to live on many different levels almost simultaneously was exhilarating -- back when it seemed appropriate.

    You like to take photographs. I like to observe people quietly while in their midst and sometimes write about what I've seen. I've never in the least minded being alone in a crowd, but the presence of the noise I've described makes it impossible to enjoy outings of that sort anymore.

    Boomboxes at the BEACH was absolutely The Last Straw.

    Imagine trying to do research in a public library with an electronic band turned up to maximum decibel ratings as "background music."

    "Social Cancer' is not too strong a term for what I've had to endure much too often.

    You really haven't lived till you've been trapped on a New York City bus with THREE or FOUR entirely DIFFERENT Ghetto Blasters roaring away simultaneously. Bedlam would be Heaven in comparison.

    And so it goes ...

    ~ FT

  19. Well it is something in favor of the iPod that they've made the boom box largely obsolete.

    Now people can keep it to themselves.

    Car radios are a problem. I was at a spot that usually holds you up for a couple of light cycles and WHRB was spinning through Orlando Gibbons.

    Some douche in the next lane has Metallica blaring over The Silver Swan. There was no way to ask him why he assumed others shared his taste in music. It's becoming less common I think.

  20. The Silver Swan,
    _____ who llving had no note
    When death approached
    _____ unlock'd her silent, silent throat.
    Leaning her breast
    _____ against the reedy shore
    Thus sang her first and last,
    _____ then sang no more.

    Farewell all joys,
    _____ O Death come close my eyes
    More geese than swans now live
    _____ more fools than wise.

    ~ Madrigal text set by Orlando Gibbons

    You wouldn't believe it, Ducky, but I was singing the bass line to that contrapuntal ditty in the shower just yesterday morning.

    What a coincidence! I won a place in the All-State Chorus in 1957 singing that. It was the 'test piece that year for the statewide auditions.

    I'm glad we agree about car radios.

    I don't give a proverbial tinker's dam what people listen to on their own time. What I absolutely can't abide is having anyone impose his or her tastes on me in public places.

    It's tantamount to lunching with friends in a restaurant and having a a grubby, ill-clad, ill-groomed, halitotic stranger redolent of BO pull up a chair, sit down uninvited, and start to dominate the conversation with loud, boorish, insinuating remarks.

    No one would put up with THAT, so why isn't it legal and perfectly all right to take out a pistol when trapped at an intersection, and shoot the driver of the offending car radio directly in the head?

    Should be!


  21. My ears are assaulted only once in a blue moon where I live.


    The other day, the teenage boy down the street outfitted his car with a new stereo system and blasted away -- until his parents came outside and screamed, "Cut it out!"

    Most teenagers and younger folks whom I encounter have their ears plugged in.

  22. Antonioni implies that the new city landscape can be experienced as beauty, we just have to adjust.

    Perhaps he implied it, but that wasn't his intent...

    This (The Red Desert) was Antonioni's first colour film, which the director said he wanted to shoot like a painting on a canvas:

    I want to paint the film as one paints the canvas; I want to invent the colour relationships, and not limit myself to photographing only natural colours.



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