Today’s word is cacophony – a harsh, discordant array of sounds.  Dissonance.  From the Greek ‘kako’, meaning bad or evil, and ‘phone’, meaning voice.  Therefore ‘babel’, as in a Babel of voices. The implication is, of course, a lack of understanding – not just noise, but an implied danger in voices raised all at once.

Such a chaos of dissonance, can, however, be a meaningful poetic device –

“Under thy shadow by the piers I waited
Only in darkness is thy shadow clear.
The City’s fiery parcels all undone,
Already snow submerges an iron year …”

– from ‘To Brooklyn Bridge’, Hart Crane, 1930


About hickson1

Art historian, professor, Italian Renaissance and Baroque specialist, Italophile
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