The Hum Of The World

The Hum Of The World

A fraction of people in the world hear what is called the “Worldwide Hum” or, simply, the “Hum.” The Hum was first documented in the late 1960s, around Bristol, England. It appeared in the United States in the late 1980s in Taos, New Mexico. The World Hum Map and Database Project gathers and documents information from people who can hear the Hum. 

Taking the "Hum" as metaphor, Marc Nair pairs photographs from Kandy in Sri Lanka with a poetic exposition of what the hum could represent for our collective lives. 

The Hum of the World
for Ajit and Mr Jack
Kandy, Sri Lanka

It is said
there is a hum in the world
that only a few have heard

It comes
as a low persistence,
hangs at the brink of perception

It rises
not from mating fish, 
satellites or a singing child

You can't pay
someone to switch it on
or drive to a remote gash

in the ground
to watch sonic waves
swirl the surface

It is the frequency
of uncommon thought, 
an open smile

It is untranslated
poetry, a good story
if you listen without interrupting

It starts
when you're halving cigarettes
in a rented room, 

when you're stretching
one banana into
three meals

It comes
in the missed train,
a beggar's twisted feet
It rises
from blooming flowers, 
against the stripes of a rainbow
It is gunshot
and galloping horse,
in subways and high above hills

It walks through
forest and boutique,
rattles plastic and antique

It stops only when it chooses to stop

The hum
reminds us that
the universe runs on a current

at the limits
of hearing, at the
limits, of hope