I Don’t Really Want to Know

From Catch Up With Summer, published in 2015.

I Don’t Really Want to Know

Plant and music, mail art postcard, 2010.

That shimmery quality of that sound
is a mystery to me.
Oh, I know it comes from the cicadas
I know that sound
from summer after summer of listening to it
start slow and small move up and up in volume peak
and end.
Wait some and then
repeat.
But what I don’t know and will never know
is how they all know when to start
how to regulate the pace
when to give it just that little bit extra before
falling off.
Mystery. I know I said it. A mystery.

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4 thoughts on “I Don’t Really Want to Know

  1. “Shimmery” is the perfect word to describe it. I was listening to an NPR interview recently with George Martin’s son about the recording of The Beatles’ ‘Day in the Life’. They had an orchestra begin on the same note and end on the same note but between each member was to play a different note from every other member so as to result in that discordant yet not quite chaotic closing section. Your poem made me think of the cicadas as an orchestra attempting something similar.

  2. I loved hearing that about the music. It’s exactly how I think of cicada and other mass nature sounds. It’s like they vibrate around a central fixed point. I love that.

  3. I find any group musical performances to be like that. How do all those people follow the conductor so perfectly? Perhaps the cicadas give lessons. (K)

  4. Having played in musical groups (a LONG time ago) the music does the work, I think, I was just following it, so maybe…there is a cicada music that they are following and that they know, that is what I think. One that we will never know or understand, just appreciate, maybe.

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