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The Sound of Babies Crying is Music to My Ears

I don’t think there is anything a baby can give me that I want. Maybe a laugh sometimes—in a crowded church or store or plane, crying its little heart out. I love the way it stops sometimes to catch its breath, then resumes the alarm, unaware of or maybe relishing the closed-eyed, sometimes-silent sighs of its frustrated audience. It’s funny that a baby—a powerless (powerful?) baby—can make a room full of people so angry and so quickly.

“God, won’t this baby shut up?” “Where’s its mother?” I hope it never finds her. I hope it never stops crying. I love the music—the long passages of deliberated wails, the rests, the vibratos, the sob overtures. As I listen to the baby’s cries, I look around.

Hark! Who here can concentrate on nothing else? However unwilling, is engrossed in human nature’s divine opera? Because babies, like monks, have little hair on their heads, they are open to connections from above. God enters through them, and a song is extorted from their tiny wobbling mouths—the song of life. The crying is carefully conducted—when to gasp, when to groan, when to agonize over lax vowels shaped by their jaw dropped like a bagel on its face. Isn’t it beautiful? Isn’t it pure?

I have been told that it is unnatural to find pleasure in the sound that’s meant to disturb and call to action all human beings—a baby crying. But let me ask you—how could your careful words, your learned speech, your poetry, be any more natural than that? Someone told you how to say those things. All a baby knows is hunger, happiness, distress, disgust—and their crying is the raw vocalization of all of these.

When faced with a crying baby, have you ever stopped yourself in your own misery and noticed your peers? Like the baby, they are crying too. On the inside, probably. They are rolling their eyes, resting their eyes, rubbing their temples, tilting their heads back against their seats. I find wonder in such a reactive audience. I can’t say myself that I’ve elicited strong, physical responses with my own lyricism. They are moved by the baby’s performance, if only to the most respectful anger—but they are still moved.

There is an opportunity here for you to end suffering and laugh instead. Love the baby. Know the baby. Listen to the baby. And laugh at the dramatics. Then laugh at those around you who can’t do those things, who haven’t realized yet that a baby crying is the loveliest music of all.


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