"No further than his throat"? Something made the sounds stick there and prevented the whole body from singing? What does it sound like when someone's singing or speaking doesn't go further than her throat and what is that narrowness which holds my words and, in a way, my actions at the throat and, at best, allows them to fill only my head?
Musing about these questions, it occurred to me that when your words don't go further than your throat and you speak and act in this condition, you must be quite hollow., Then I remembered the title of a poem called "The Hollow Men".
I looked it up and read:
We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
Do you read poetry or listen to it? Highly recommended! It makes you practice listening with your whole body. It may even unblock those hard-headed thoughts that are stuck in your head and circulate them through your whole body.
The first thing I noticed when reading "The Hollow Men" was that they are also "the stuffed men". So a hollow man isn't an empty man. To the contrary, he or she is full with all kinds of things. Their hollowness is, therefore, rather due to the way of being filled: they are stuffed.
Which brings a picture back to my mind I used some time ago for the syllabus of a course on "Concepts of Education". It showed a student sitting on a chair and a teacher standing behind him, holding a funnel over his head and pouring into it some brew that, I guess, must have been "knowledge". Of course, it reminded everyone in class of the gas station. But it made us also muse about the ways of learning we had been subjected to and those we would rather follow.
Our conversations in class at that time have sharpened my attention to hollowness. Or to stuffing, for that matter. How strange that we pay so little heed to it. Any doctor will tell you that you should take small bites, chew them well, let your body absorb what is healthy and dispose of what is harmful for it. What good is there in saying or writing things that may be loud when they are hollow at the same time because they are not yours and were never allowed to become so?
Learn to distinguish. All you have to do is knock. When you hear a hollow sound, you'll understand why T.S. Eliot, the poet of "The Hollow Men", says that the world of the hollow men "ends not with a bang but a whimper".
And what hollows the hollow men out? Here is a clue from my trusted companion, the dictionary:
"She couldn't say "Thank you" - the words stuck in her throat."