Or did it sound on the plasm direct?  

D.H. Lawrence  


Room, hall, chamber, plate, spring. 

Church, cathedral. Eventually, maybe, Abbey Road. 

Declensions of reverberation (modular, non-linear)— 

a grammar of plug-in downloads. 

A far-off and fragile guitar line, 

faint as birdsong in the dying night. 


Our song still rings out 

in days of fathomless boredom. 

Maintains itself— 

a super-audible ghost  

inside each chosen platform. 


A count, two, three, four… 

a chord, 

a pulse, 

a hammer. 


Eventually the sound decays,  

breaks up, or down, into tunelessness 

despite maintaining at all times,  

its peculiar kind of backbeat, somewhere in the distance. 


Then a sort of counter-melody. Incidental noise. 

The slow degraded wave-obsoletion. 

The tunes, of course, still carry 

through imitation, repetition, cover version. 

Languages visited one upon the other, 

their references move biblically, 

through the blues, gospel, work-songs, soul, to the pop-cultural. 

Ingvaeonic, Anglo-Frisian, Old English, Scouse,  

finally, perhaps, standard digital command. 

Remembered the sound as it used to be.  

As it was originally. 

Inexpressible in silence (though, as has been said, 

that is itself impossible.) 


A count two, one-two, 

fuzzbox, low left-handed hum, snare. 


To mistake a voice in the middle of the mass 

as something human might be, well, human. 

Or beyond human,  

insofar as we construct and deconstruct  

reputation (the correct tense is genius-posthumous). 


An image arrives from nowhere, 

or so it would seem— 

an old friend and his Bontempi organ, 

a bandstand somewhere, winter in the north.  

Singing. Far away, singing. 

unpublished poem, © Will Burns 2022, used by permission of the author.

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Will Burns is a poet and novelist. He first came to prominence in 2014 as a Faber New Poet and has since authored poetry collections ...