On the surface appears the first ripple of sound.
Somewhere on stage a drumstick clatters to the floor
and echoes through the empty cavern in which
two thousand people sit on the edge of their seats,
knowing everything is about to change.
But this silence, the silence before the storm
is agonizing — two thousand breaths
are waiting to released with the first downbeat.
Below us the sea is swirling, the voices filling
the air around us as the lightning grows in the distance.
The storm is awakening. First, the hushed murmur
of violin bow on guitar strings, and soft touches
of fingertips on instruments, with a low hum of a bass note
rumbling below all other sounds.
And then —
A cymbal crash and the music bursts
into a wave full of sound and fury, rushing
through the stadium in powerful bass gales
while the thunder from the drum kit fills the room.
The tempest increases as
we sit on the deck, in the nosebleed seats,
and watch as the storm brews below me
We seafarers are merely trying to survive
this musical maelstrom, in little row boats of expectation,
waiting anxiously for the first rush of water
into the hulls of our ships, but being unprepared
for when the sound-waves crash over the ship into our bodies,
instantly drowning any emotional stability we ever had.
Catharsis through cloudburst.
The song ends in a rapture of percussion. Then
just as swiftly as the water rose it recedes again into
a reverent silence — the eye of the hurricane.
The sailors stand at caution, waiting for the next
torrent to begin, but the musicians lower their instruments:
the onslaught is over. We erupt into applause,
our hands beating nearly as loud as the thunder claps
created by the band itself. The clouds remain,
and we hush as the calm winds blanket everything
with a gentle melody.
The ship proceeds with caution,
as the faint scent of sulfur and smoke from the crew’s
burning amplifiers fills the air, a relic of rock melodies
as hard as obsidian in underwater caves, shattering
and rising to the surface for the musicians to invoke
in their melodies, strong power chords;
dark, ruminating phrases and notes, reflecting
through music the blackened storm clouds above
against the blackened rocks below.
The water rolls over the ship, sloshing across the deck,
and we look up in tears at the sky — where the clouds
gather and linger in the aftermath of song,
as we sailors reel from the auditory attack we have
just survived. The band moves into a gentle song, reminiscent
of a balmy sea breeze; the thunderous percussion desists
and only a single man’s voice breaks through the clouds,
a sweet melody that carries high over all else.
We exhale as the clouds disperse. The water
drips off the side of the hull, and we know that
if we survive this voyage, this melodic sojourn,
if we manage to weather the passionate storm
there will be puddles for us to jump in for days.
When the clouds break and the sun emerges again,
when the darkness has passed and the music has faded,
we will remember the symphonious squall for as long
as there is a single puddle to jump in, a small reminder
of the common aural assault we have won — a reminder
of the day the sea rose.