You see him on the bridge when you pass among the midday crowds. Alone among the moving multitude, he stands stationary, his voice raised as he addresses us. In his hands is a slim black volume with cheap plastic covers. He reads, rather, he declaims from this book words of prophecy and of admonition.
The preacher’s voice is thin and high pitched, too feeble an instrument to serve his purposes without help. He augments the thin piping of his voice with a little microphone which emerges like the head of a small serpent from somewhere near his collar. The serpent’s head stays firmly in place within cooee of the preacher’s mouth, a mere kiss away, without visible support.
Assisted by this miracle, the preacher delivers his text. His voice starts high and ascends higher. The higher it rises, the softer it becomes. Eventually, the voice reaches its zenith where all sound ceases, then it falls again to shoulder height to begin the ascent of the next phrase.
Alone among all the movers at noonday, I stop to listen and to learn. Continue reading