“Follow the White Rabbit” Fable


© LRSarbu 2012

Physicists say that sound is just vibrations,
made when particles or waves become excited
like teenagers with raging hormones.

Philosophers say that sound is more of an experience,
and exists only if there are ears around to hear it,
preferably lumberjacks or ecologists,
for who else would want to be near a tree falling?

Still others, like meteorologists,
claim that sound waves are the tortoise to light’s rabbit,
and though they always catch up eventually,
slow thunder rumbles along as if it has asthma and far too many cheeseburgers sitting in its belly.

Perhaps the academics are wrong.
Maybe sound is a magical creature
who looks an awful lot like a timekeeping rodent
with large ears and a penchant for carrots
(because that’s far more believable).
This ivory bunny creeps into our ears briefly
to the whisper secrets of the universe into our bones,
or at least to remind us that
we come with strings enough attached
that we make a symphony of human noises.

The nameless fuzzy fairy
(we can call it Rhythm for the time being)
wears a colorful cap
fashioned from patchwork pieces of resonance
and a dash of the cries of infants to keep it interesting,
a sash that shimmers in flashes of stacked harmonies
and a pair of leather boots
that sound different each time they strike the ground.

However, Rhythm is a picky creature
and spends more time in some people’s ears than others.
Occasionally someone will say they just don’t have rhythm,
but maybe the fairy doesn’t feel welcome
in a cochlea decorated in earwax.
Perhaps if the applicants enlisted the help
of Good Earkeeping Magazine
and installed throw pillows and reed diffusers
in their auditory canals,
sound may gain more structure for them.

Legend tells of the gypsy fairy’s origins:
Rhythm was born when we were still ancient,
like 4.4 million years ago,
when our foremothers walked on two legs,
or maybe 3.1 million years ago,
when our ancestors were called bipeds,
or about 5000 years previous,
after we knew the knowledge of fruit trees.
They say a serpent buried some forbidden seeds
deep in the ground (don’t ask where he found them),
and they sprouted a being who brought with it
all the sounds of the world.

Suddenly we found ourselves in a richer world,
where streams babbled and children screamed
and the grass beneath predators’ feet
warned us before they pounced
and dancing finally made sense
because it wasn’t just people flailing wildly about.

Since then, we’ve used music
remind ourselves that sound is magical.
It’s almost as if we swallowed the blue pill
and when artists like Eminem
preach like a Lutheran to
lose ourselves in the music,
we fall happily down the rabbit hole
and can’t get up
(hence the tortoise analogy).

One thought on ““Follow the White Rabbit” Fable

  1. I’ve really enjoyed your past few poems. They’re all really quirky and funny. Nice picture… that guy looks familiar. Perhaps I have met him in my nightmares…?

    And if you really think about it, dancing IS just people wildly flailing around.

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