Basins of Sound – a poem by Phoebe Marrall

Basins of Sound

There is no top. There are always further heights to reach.

—Jascha Heifetz, Lithuanian-born violinist

Once in a while,
the drifts of what I hear
arc above muddy sounds,
and their permanence is sensible,
I am glad to sharpen my listening.

Will I, like the young who need
high volume sound piped into their
ears until the throbs beat again,
attune my listening only to my whims?

My ears, catchment basins of sound
and filters against the cacophony
which is merely noise, increase keenly,
and reach beyond the familiar,
and learn anew as Heifetz did.


Phoebe Marrall, orphaned at the age of nine, was a survivor of The Depression and of a grueling childhood. When she died in 2017 at the age of eighty-four, her daughters Jane Hendrickson and Camille Komine inherited hundreds of poems she had written. They remained unpublished during her lifetime, but it is the intention of her daughters that a collection be compiled for readers to appreciate. Relief, Have You a Name? is currently a work in progress, being edited by Gayle Jansen Beede.


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