Woes and joys. Strife and love. Bickering and bantering. Long, short, monosyllabic. Concise, rhetoric, propagandist. Melodious, soft, harsh. Virile verse, pining prose. Whispering to the ear, lips, and neck. Downfall, resurgence, surrender. History, farce, comedy, absurdity. Count of death, in wars, in famines, in love. Persuasion, manipulation, truth, and nullity. Divine, satanic, hopeless, heartless. Warning, confession, question. Disturbing, pleasing, painful. Of eyes, of hands, of frowns, of lips. Anecdote, revelry, escape. Nostalgic, depressing, sinful. Chirping, quacking, mooing, clucking. Bellowing, flowing, drowning, dancing. Roar, uproar, revolutionary. Romantic, tragic, precautionary. Prophetic, polemic, cathartic. Hackneyed, novel, contrived, digressive. Simple, complex, true. First, last, sixth. Here, there. Now and then.
He heard every bit.
Tales of a dead statesman. Misgivings of a lover. Silence of a stranger. Chanting of a vendor. In buses, in trains, in dreams. Across the road. Down the hill. Atop the mosque. Premonition of a farewell. Of a child, of a bird, of a friend. Drum beats, twangs, and tricks in a song. Words of utter depth, and glorious lies. Comforting, distressing, affirming. Sounding cataracts. Sighs.
He heard sans pretense.
He nodded at profundities. He exclaimed at calamities. He rued at animosities. He chuckled and laughed. He panted and sighed. He dismissed with a frown. He agreed with a smile. His empathy, in his eyes. His disapproval, on his nose. His forehead betraying his calm. His cheeks, often ruddy. Yes, he cried! His brown eyes seemed to understand.
He was a good listener.
For a infinitely better and less pretentious use of ‘Sounding Cataract’, read Tintern Abbey by Wordsworth, line 76..