Journalism In Verse

oliveros

Pauline Oliveros (1932-2016) / The Map of Sounds & Memories

in Obituaries by

The Library of Maps, #24
Dedicated to Pauline Oliveros

I. Sounds of the Comets

That night she sat,
Staring into the Blind Mirror
–beside her
lay the Sound Pencil–
Amidst the stones
That formed a circle in the middle of the garden
Of the Library of Maps.

After meditating
And listening to the silent garden,
She took the Sound Pencil
And,
Pointing it upward at the night sky,
Listened
–hour after hour–
To the comets
As they whirled around
In time and space.
She spent all night
Listening.

It was the first time that anyone on Earth,
Including herself,
Had ever heard the sounds
Of all the comets in the universe,
Past
Present
And future.

II. Memories of the Stones

Just before dawn,
Holding the Blind Mirror in one hand,
And the Sound Pencil in the other,
She began to walk through the Labyrinth of Stones.

At first she heard
Only the sound of her own breathing,
As she silently
Read
The inscription on each stone.

But at last,
As she reached
The center of the Labyrinth of Stones
The stones began to whisper.

Sitting there,
Listening to their memories,
She began to play.

Written April 6 – May 2, 2002.


Read More
Pauline Oliveros, Composer Who Championed ‘Deep Listening,’ Dies at 84 [New York Times]
A Guide to Pauline Oliveros’ Music [The Guardian]
Pauline Oliveros [Wikipedia]

Moira Roth is an art historian, writer and playwright with a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. Since 1985 she has taught at Mills College. She has published extensively including Difference/Indifference: Musings on Postmodernism, Marcel Duchamp and John Cage. Currently she is at work on her second volume, Traveling Companions/ Fractured Worlds

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