When we miss someone, we feel the absence of their touch and see that they are not there in the stillness of our personal shadows, but it is when we notice the absence of their noise that the missing becomes hardest to bear. That is when we long for an absent-minded hum, a footfall, fingers running up the piano, a burp, a cough, a sneeze, or the clink of a spoon in a tea-cup – anything that tells us they’re home.
A cappella is all that is best about the human voice – its genre hopping versatility, its energy, the beauty of its harmonies and the ear popping acrobatics of its beat boxing – so much so, that when it is suddenly switched off, the world becomes a much quieter place. We had an a cappella group living with us for a week last summer – this is for them and the void they left behind.
Do you know that the birds still sing?
And the grass soft mourns,
where youthful feet once fell?
Leaves, timid, dare to shift and shuffle,
in zephrous breeze,
hinting at lingering laughter lost.
While dew drop tears falling
and my soul misses their noise.
Song filled our ears
for one summer week – long lived.
Now the wind
blows a crescendo of nothing
to collide with the notes in my head;
silent notes – the memories of music shared.
Shared music that will be shared again.
And joyously again.
But listen now,
for I had forgotten that the birds still sing.