Eli N. H.

Then the hail came with the dark, setting up a staccato drumming on the corrugated metal roof. 

The silence and the shadow hung around us. Away off in the country silence beyond the barracks walls there was one tiny edge of sound, a handsaw keening: nothing else.

It feels like she has had an experience of some kind, that something’s got into her, making her tense on the inside like a string on a musical instrument, causing her to make a clean sound, inaudible to anyone. A quiet sound, meant just for her body -- a short-lived concert in a brittle acoustical shell.

He began to rise from the toilet into something awful, into a new sound, into the rising decibels of the woman screaming from the living room.

Once it goes out of tune, she thought, it takes a long time to readjust the quiet to the sound of me.

Continuously, with no pause, a hissing mutter fills the air, so huge and so long a sound that one cannot hear it when one stops to listen; yet it fills all the interstices of one's being. 

A noise like sudden rain.

Catching the Voice of America through the crackling of the jamming static. I still remember that beautiful crackling.

But there was no longer any life in his belly, and his voice sounded thin like the creaking of ice.

the mechanical cacophony drowns out their conversation. 

A reverberating collision and a sea-sick feeling at once. 

He listens intently, as though for a special sound or as though he were drawing out a note of particular merit to him

Lace curtains, fixed with drawing pins, blocked her view into rooms in which she could hear, along every block, televisions blasting.

the question was resonating like a profound but untimely silence that should be broken for the sake of politeness

A marvelous distance floods her euphoric ears

quiet's familiar warp

And the noise, of course: ever-present. She shut the window.

They slide up and down the stem in knots, hissing quietly, together a symphony that sounds of the sea, or cars rushing over the freeway late at light

The keystone of the arch goes up past him in its sling, is raised, settled, and fitted almost soundlessly, great ton-weight block though it is, into the gap between the two piers, making them one, one thing, an arch.

The wall of a tent leans up over my face, not visible but audible, a slanting plane of faint sound: the susurrus of blown snow. Nothing can be seen.

the motor's roar is deafening, and yet after just a moment the brain grows accustomed, as it does in the winter to thick clothing that separates the body from the rest of the world.

There were more than a hundred people clustered around the park entrance now, and they began to chatter in a rising polyphonous clamor.

We heard at the far end of the garden, not the copious high-pitched bell that drenched, that deafened in passing with it's ferruginous, icy, inexhaustible noise any person in the household who set it off by coming in "without ringing," but the shy, oval, double tinkling of the little visitors' bell 

Their talk and laughter bounced strangely off the tiles walls, an insane barrage of fragmentary noises.

Sounds have curled up inside themselves, withdrawn their snail's eyes; the orchestra of the world has departed, vanishing into the park. 

the sound is long, mournful, like the voice of an animal. Then it stops, shattered into cicadas' small echoes. 

the sound of the wind seems the sound of the wind that blows there. 

In the concentrated quiet, all his sense became a listening, and he, a moving prayer.




My text is culled from various sources. Since my focus is on a very limited textual and imaginative effect of language, I've ommitted citations and context from the body of the text. Please see this list for the writings I've used so far:

Modern Nature by Derek Jarman
The Trace by Forrest Gander
Second Hand Time by Svetlana Alexievich
The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula Le Guin
Leaving, edited by Xander Marro
Flights by Olga Tokarczuk
The Most Foreign Country by Alejandra Pizarnik
Hard Rain Falling by Don Carpenter
Swann's Way by Marcel Proust
The Corner that Held Them by Silvia Townsend Warner

Ongoing research into literary descriptions of audible phenomena.

Creative Commons License.