Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Not Impaired (Poem)

Not Impaired

       Deaf people experience deafness not
          as an absence, but as a presence.
            ~ Andrew Solomon in Far From the Tree

He cannot hear
the music, a high

note pitch-piped
to set off the boys'

choir on Sunday.
He misses bass

tones, too, cannot
ever find the place

where sound might
rest for a whole

measure, waiting
for him to catch up.

He can never sit in
the back row only,

pretending he gets
every word. Reading

lips takes an effort
when so many are

in a hurry, refusing
to pay attention to

signs. All the noise
breaks concentration.

Look, he'd say if
they'd turn to face

him: That sweet
nothing in my ear

is this, my chance
to listen to what is

not you, not I.

© 2014 Maureen E. Doallas

This poem was inspired by Ann Conway's post "Interior Music" at Good Letters blog (Image Journal).


nance.mdr said...

it's good to get another perspective on hearing.

Beachanny said...

Wonderful capture of what it is to lose the sense of hearing. It's happening to me a little more every day. The ringing inside my ears is making all other sounds incomprehensible. I love the tenderness in this poem, the spotlight on what care is needed. Well said, Maureen.

Brian Miller said...

nice perspective...we used to have a man that was blind that came to tune our piano...he was a wizz...i learned so much from him...he was so patient with a young boy...teaching me to see as he saw....

S. Etole said...


Ruth Mowry said...

Maureen, I love your gorgeous twist of attention to that absence, the nothing, the not you, not I — the ability to "hear" it between the somethings. Wow, what a thought.