National Museum of Australia   

Some stories may be distressing. Get support.
This website may have names and images of
deceased Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

You can hear things you never heard before

In the Covid quiet, you can hear things you never heard before:
the hum of the air conditioner on a peak hour train: the sounds of birds in your
backyard, if you’re lucky; and the quiet desperation of people in the dole queue, if you’re not.

Manners are back in full force, but we say it with our eyes. After you, we say.
No, after you, we reply. No please, you first, we insist.

As you walk the streets, there’s no danger of being run over, no one is heedlessly speeding through them because they are late for work, must get their kids to school, will be sacked if they’re late one more time.

So we can hear the quiet noises of our neighbours in their backyards: the soft sounds of their bin lid hitting the top of the bin, the sound of someone walking, the hiss as they drag on a cigarette.

And if we can drown out the Covid
Clamour that screams in our ears,
what are they doing, are they sick, are they going to give it to me, my kids, my mother,

Then we hear our neighbours, and we wonder how they’re going,
We hope they’re ok, wish we knew them a little better, and that we could pass the time of day.

In the Covid quiet, we can hear the people in the dole queue and now that we hear them, we can’t walk past.

You can hear things you never heard before

Explore more stories

Share your experience