I don’t know if I can write a poem about my voice but I certainly have been considering many things about voice since I was given the assignment.
Walk with me through this maze of thought about voice.
There are so many voices I have heard in my life which were voices of power and influence to my life. Some were harsh and felt cold. Some were loving and warm. Some were kind. Some critical, even vicious.
There are voices I miss and can hear in my mind some days: Grandpa Mac’s laughter and joking, Grandma Guiler’s gentle approvals, Great Grandma Christie’s hospitality and joyous welcome, Dad’s stories, Bryan’s silly jokes and boisterous bellows.
But how would I describe their voices to someone who has never heard them?
There are some people I’ve known who had very distinctive voices. One lady I think of from my home town had a very nasal sound to her voice but it was high pitched and sounded like a little child rather than a grown woman. Even that doesn’t really explain the voice. If people who knew her, heard her name, they would most likely immediately think of her voice and hear it in their heads but could they describe it?
The principal of my school when I was a child had a very distinctive voice. It was deep and booming but had laughter on its wings.
Is there any way to describe a voice? Does it sound like wind in the trees of fall, raspy through the crisp leaves? Does it sound like a small brook in spring time, bubbling and gurgling over smooth river rocks? Does it sound like the engine of a great train as it gains steam and readies for a journey. Does it sound like the rusted hinge of a broken wooden fence?
To describe a voice one might be more inclined to compare it to another voice. She sounds a little like Miss Gulch in the Wizard of Oz or Scarlet from Gone with the Wind. He sounds like Groucho Marx or Shawn Connery.
Accents which you just heard when I mentioned people in that last paragraph are another way to describe voices. Scenes from My Fair Lady and the phrase, “the rain in Spain falls gently on the plain” falling from the lips of Audrey Hepburn in her transformation from Cockney to High English, come to mind.
Try as I might I cannot find a way to actually describe a voice, any voice let alone my own.
I am so aware that my own voice sounds nothing to others like it sounds to me. Sometimes people hear tones and judgment in my voice that are not there. Sometimes they hear approval where there is sarcasm and sometimes sarcasm where there is approval. There is such distance and bending from the intent of the speaker to the ear of the hearer. The filters of the hearing of a voice are as different as the people who hear it. They are filters of experience. They are often filters clogged with pain and anger.
The only way I can think to describe my own voice at all is to consider what I want to accomplish with it.
When I speak I want you to know my loving.
When I sing hear my heart.
When I laugh let my laughter be medicine.
When I comfort feel the softness of my hand on your forehead.
When I cry know I am working it through.
When I cheer know I will cheer whether you win or lose.
When my sobbing lingers, my heart breaks but it will be mended.
When I protest my passion is ignited but my fierce anger is toward wrong
When I encourage it is with hope and faith
Oh that my voice would be like water in the desert.
The voice that brings peace to your mind, confidence to your soul and love to your heart.