Stephen Dobyns


Loud Music - Poem by Stephen Dobyns

My stepdaughter and I circle round and round.
You see, I like the music loud, the speakers
throbbing, jam-packing the room with sound whether
Bach or rock and roll, the volume cranked up so
each bass notes is like a hand smacking the gut.
But my stepdaughter disagrees. She is four
and likes the music decorous, pitched below
her own voice-that tenuous projection of self.
With music blasting, she feels she disappears,
is lost within the blare, which in fact I like.
But at four what she wants is self-location
and uses her voice as a porpoise uses
its sonar: to find herself in all this space.
If she had a sort of box with a peephole
and looked inside, what she'd like to see would be
herself standing there in her red pants, jacket,
yellow plastic lunch box: a proper subject
for serious study. But me, if I raised
the same box to my eye, I would wish to find
the ocean on one of those days when wind
and thick cloud make the water gray and restless
as if some creature brooded underneath,
a rocky coast with a road along the shore
where someone like me was walking and has gone.
Loud music does this, it wipes out the ego,
leaving turbulent water and winding road,
a landscape stripped of people and language-
how clear the air becomes, how sharp the colors.


Comments about Loud Music by Stephen Dobyns

  • (4/21/2005 7:11:00 AM)


    It is interesting to read your poem, Stephen. I have often wondered about what sensations happen to people who like listening to loud music. My husband, when he was much younger like you, used to like his music played loudly, but now I have acute hearing and his is poor. I used to disappear when the noise erupted.I like your descriptions of scenery and your daughter's antics. This is a happy poem and because it places you in a special time and place, you will be able to refer back to it with pleasure. Well done, Stephen. (Report) Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
Read all 1 comments »



Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Read poems about / on: music, water, ocean, red, people, lost, wind



Poem Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003



[Report Error]