Bomb shelters. Gas masks. Duck and cover drills. The Cold War was characterized a sense of impending doom. In my recently published poem, Headphones: A Brief History and Other Notes, this sense of foreboding is countered with the healing power of sound.
Modern research confirms our ancient knowing. Music heals. Brain scans show music calms the parasympathetic nervous system which controls the fight or flight response. This is why humming and singing relax the body.
The poem moves beyond this idea of music as a tool to heal the individual and considers the possibility of sound compounding in order to generate protective factors for humanity. It imagines what might happen if our voices accumulate in the atmosphere, create tension, and trigger change for the good.
Thank you the Hawai’i Pacific Review, the online literary magazine for the University of Hawaii, for publishing this piece and to the editor, Tyler McMahon, whose latest book One Potato will soon be available.