A Sonnet by Ben Scotch

Sonnet for Randy

This sonnet tells about two performances Randy offered here in Vermont. One, several years ago, was a masterful and very musical composition using human voices as tones, with speakers arranged around the room. Randy caught content, nuance, and tonality in an uncanny way. We were all moved and deepened by this piece.

The second performance was by his SPAT group here in Montpelier this past summer. Draped in radios, Randy spoke volumes about communication and non-communication, sound and meaning, and the thin line between the noise of our culture and its beauty.

In the poem I consciously speak of Randy in the present tense, because that’s how he will always be. The reference to “ignoring limits” is from one of the email pieces circulating among Randy’s friends. I thought the phrase was perfect.

A Sonnet for Randy

Ignoring limits, tones of us and you,
And echoes of the possible, cascade.
A room beside the lake, a serenade
Of whispers, laughs — of conversation’s newDesign: A choir of the mind and voice.
No clatter, rattle, racket, clang, or click
Goes past your ear unloved, no spark, no flick
Of light or life is paltry, no base choice

Your mikes and radios hang cagily from each seam:
We hear, In charting, splendor, roaring glees, or scouting
Crannies of our jaded sphere for themes.
we hear, we smile, we join, we hail, we shout.

You’ll always teach us how to listen hard
For sounds of life and beauty once unheard.

Ben Scotch
02/04/96

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