It was when, in the brightening mornings,
awake as a sentinel, he could hear no birdsong

and when, in the narrowing evenings,
newscasters’ voices rang across hollow distances.

The audiologist was grave in pinstripes and goatee,
spoke of ‘inner damage’; the hearing aids

offered only tinny radio sounds
that failed to overcome the roar inside his ears.

Now people think him stupid; and he lives
a life of dignified pain. A quiet life.