John Gardiner Calkins Brainard

(1796-1828 / the United States)

To A Deaf And Dumb Lady - Poem by John Gardiner Calkins Brainard

I wish — 't is no concern of mine,
But yet I wish that you would try
The painter's brush, and trace the line
Of grace or beauty by the eye;—
And teach the hand the tongue's strange art
To tell the stories of the heart.

For you have never heard a sound,—
Have never uttered with the tongue
The music of your looks, nor found
A voice their sweetness to prolong.
Shall such soul in such body dwell,
A pearl within a pearly shell?

Try! words are colors; — Feeling lays
Their tints on memory's open page,
Now bright, now soft, now dim their rays,
They gleam in youth and fade in age.
Yet when their hues are gone, each stain
That daubed their beauties wilt remain.

A purer pallet grace your hand,
A purer pencil follow on,
(Obedient to the eye's command,)
The objects that you think upon.
For you, from half our frailties free,
Might paint a page of purity.

I've seen what I would you could see,
The calm, the breeze, the gale, the motion
Of elements combined — yet free,
Each for itself, to vex the ocean;
And thought that words would ill supply
The cravings of the straining eye.

I 've seen what you have seen, the sky
As pure as innocence could make it,
As blue and bright as beauty's eye,
With not a tearful wink to shake it.
Ask not for words in such an hour,
Nor the ear's listening —listening power.

Sense is not competent to tell
The strivings of the clay-bound soul;
Thoughts high as heaven and deep as hell,
Will awfully around it roll;
And words are sacrilege, that dare
Its fearful workings to declare.

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Poem Submitted: Saturday, September 18, 2010

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