The Slow-Cooked Sentence

Sough or sounds in a foreign language

Rachael Conlin Levy

sou, suhf

hen house life
Courtesy of James Morton.
  1. A soft, low sighing, murmuring or rustling sound.

The leader is small, thin, with eyes like black beads that flash as she cocks her head to one side and waits for a child to spread the wing of what appears to be a feathered basketball. Ten seconds pass. The basketball squawks, grows legs and tries to fly, but is stopped by the leader who has come to the child’s aid.

I sit in a chilly barn, sharing the space with animals, children, other parents, who also wait. One parent reads. Another checks a smart phone. Two fathers talk. I’m the only one who knits, and I’ve just discovered a mistake three rows back.

The leader talks on, but I don’t listen to the lesson, just the sough of her voice, rising and falling in hushed clucks — blah, blah, blah, BLAH! blah, blah, BLAH! I unravel yarn, and wonder how, just as dogs and their owners come to resemble each other, this woman has come to talk like her chickens.

5 responses to “Sough or sounds in a foreign language”

  1. I guess I'm in trouble then….7 chickens, a dog and three guinea pigs. I can tell you that to my children, most of the time, I sound like a chicken! 🙂

    Are you joining a chicken 4H club???!

  2. Rachael Levy says:

    Kyndale, the 4-H club has both a rabbit and a chicken leader.

    I think mothers often sound like chickens … clucking, ruffling, smoothing, squawking … now, if only we mothers could do more laying, down, that is.

  3. Andrea says:

    "Sough"…I like that. I wish I heard more sough and less squack in my life.

  4. anno says:

    Strange… the second time this week I've seen this word. Seems that it could apply to constantly murmuring ducks as well. Even in our small flock, there's a bossy one, whom the others all protect and obey, and a slow one, never quite in synch with all the others, for whom I always save a few treats, just to make sure she gets some of her own.

    Beautiful post — I love the way your picture, word, and post all work together.

  5. Rachael Levy says:

    Andrea, I'll second you on that one!

    Anno, your ducks sound lovely. I want to clarify, though, that the photograph is not mine, but belongs to James Morton and was used (with permission) via Flickr. I'm glad you thought it complemented my story, though.

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