This concrete poem simulates the experience of a sufferer of tinnitus, the sensation of hallucinated harsh sounds. The majority of people will experience tinnitus at some point, usually intermittently for very short periods of time, however there are a minority who live with a persistent tinnitus due to untreatable damage to the inner ear. Though it can sometimes be heard in the form of a low humming, or a specific tune or song set on repeat, it is most commonly experienced as a very loud, high pitched and continous ringing in the ears which can be extremely distressing for chronic sufferers. In the poem the shape and situation of text, the use of symbols, lines, repetitions and spacing is intended to move language onto the level of sound, as if reading from an alternate form of musical notation. The use of morse code in the final line of the text, enforces this overlap between sound and language, and also serves to express the inner torment, and sense of entrapment experienced by those with tinnitus.

  • by Declan Lloyd