Someone is singing. But it is not one person’s singing. It is the singing of many persons, too many persons. It seems my country is singing in my ears. Or perhaps my ears are singing; that happens, your ears sing, they ring of imaginary singing and so when all is silent, all, even the sound of grass growing and the murmur of mynahs’ nestlings gathering fur and feather on their tawny membranes, at such times sometimes ears begin to sing. Or hear singing. It is the longing of ears that have heard no song.
What is singing but a twist of the soul — a merry twist, a morose twist, or just a twist that is itself and wouldn’t tell its nature — and a strumming of the chords, the chords that are the carousels of all song. Singing is a different thing; you sing because speaking is no longer sufficient for what needs saying out. Souls sing, nothing else can, and when a soul is stirred it will most likely sing because nothing else will express its stirring.
Ever heard raindrops kiss other raindrops and waltz with the wind as they plummet to certain death? They are singing.
Ever heard a gust taking a tree in its clasp, its thudding velocity around the trunk, the frenzied creaking of branches, the pounding and pulling of leaves, the sound of that asunder dance, and the rustle and the whispering when the tempest is done and it is time to untangle and move on? That is song, a rhapsody of minors and majors, contralto and countertenors.
Ever heard the sea’s salinity supping on sand, or snow cuddling into anything that will cuddle in return, the plop of a ripened leaf on water, the rush of a torrent rubbing on pebbles, the springing of lichen on rock, moisture tonguing down the throats of lilies arched with yearning? When plates shift in the planet’s belly and there’s a rumble, or when a volcano’s eye erupts, you hear percussion and you hear trumpets. It’s all song, and it gives on to greater song — of scared birds scattering, distant vulpine howling, penned cattle mewling, furtive felines caterwauling, frenzied ant-crawl, khar-khar-khar-khar, ripping earth and timber before anybody will notice, our petrified selves. Is this the end of the world? We wait upon it, we always have, upon the end. We wait upon the song, because in the end there will be singing. In the end there is always singing, in the end all that is left is song. We depart in crescendos of ascending, but we must await our turn to come to that final song. It makes a sound, orchestral sounds, when we merge with the elements we came from, from wind and earth, and sky and water and ether. You cannot imagine what that return to elemental things will sound like, but it will be a sound like no other because it will happen that one and only time. That sound will be like song, it will come drenched in ecstasy and tears. And when they merge with all of the rest, they make song, and we hear singing. There was song, there was always song. Even in the crying there was song, and from a distance it sounded like prayer, a song seeking the end of being unrequited, a song saying it wants to be heard before it is broken.
There was a time we would often sing ourselves and listen to our song. Even with our distraught hearts because they were hearts. We had hearts. What we now have in that space we cannot be sure, but to be sure we sang like this, and heard songs like this, even with distraught hearts.
Someone wrote, didn’t they? I purloin good things, you know that, I am a purveyor and purloiner, but I do say I purloined. This I purloined from I do not recall who, perhaps from Irshad. A. Irshad. Was someone. Is someone, lives on.
Like this. Irshaad:
Beqaraar dil yoon hi tu gaaye jaa
Khushiyon se bhare ye taraane
Jinhe sun ke duniyaa jhoom utthe
Aur jhoom utthe dil deewaane.