To a Deaf Child - Video

To A Deaf Child

by Dorothy Miles

You hold the word in hand;
and though your voice may speak, never
(though you might tutor it for ever)
can it achieve the hand-wrought eloquence
of this sign. Who in the word alone can say
that day is sunlight, night is dark!
Oh, remark
the signs for living, for being
inspired, excited --how similar they.

Your lightest word in hand
lifts like a butterfly, or folds
in liquid motion: each gesture holds
echoes of action or shape or reasoning.
Within your hands perhaps you form a clear
new vision -- Man's design for living;
so giving
sign-ificance to Babel's tongues
that henceforth he who sees aright may hear.

You hold the word in hand
and offer the palm of friendship;
of frontiers where men of speech lend lip-
service to brotherhood, you pass, unhampered
by sounds that drown the meaning, or by fear
of the foreign-word-locked fetter;
oh, better
the word in hand than a thousand
spilled from the mouth upon the hearless ear.