The other day I came across a recording of John Cage speaking about haiku, followed by a short excerpt from his book Silence, which I’ve been reading recently along with a smattering of other things. His voice is calming and has one of those hard-to-identify American accents that makes one nostalgic, usually for things one was never actually a part of in the first place. Cage redefines silence in music as not in fact the opposite of sound, but instead as a moment in which doors are opened between sounds that can be notated and those that cannot; that in fact a silence is an openness in music much in the same way that a glass wall that “presents to the eye the images of clouds, trees, or grass, according to the situation” is an openness in architecture. There is something about the pacing and timbre of his voice which makes it easy for us to hear just as much life in his silences as in his sounds: his speech flows with as much intention as the notes and rests of a musical score. He is also funny.
John Cage – Mushroom Haiku, excerpt from Silence
More on haiku later. For now, I am coming down with a nasty rhume and it is time for bed.
“We are having the pleasure of being, slowly, nowhere. If anybody is sleepy, let him go to sleep.”
Simon & Garfunkel – The Sound of Silence