Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, BORN DUMB, by NORMAN ROWLAND GALE



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BORN DUMB, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: My little love! My little speechless child!
Last Line: The child of our enchantment is born dumb!
Subject(s): Mothers & Sons; Speech Disorders; Stuttering; Muteness


MY little love! My little speechless child!
Can I forget my woman's heart, and be
For ever mute to grief, for ever mild?

Is it not hard to bear the falling rod,
When such an ailment for these baby lips
Divinely suits the policy of God?

The lambs that play too long at hide-and-seek
Have tongues that ask for mothers; these, I know,
Learn lovely meanings when the children speak.

The mother comes from far across the field
And calls assurance to her anxious child,
As I had answered had my lamb appealed!

But I shall never hear that storied speech,
That lovely language whose expression is
Defiance of all rules that man may teach;

Nor hear against my heart a son's content
When for his mouth the willing milk is kind,
And for his lips my fountain is well spent.

I have brought silence to my husband's knee!
And he (O baby, baby, try to speak!)
So greatly counted on thy mimicry

Of words his wit prepared to plague thy lips,
Ready to kiss that rosebud impotence,
Thy mouth, and garner all thy precious slips.

"Fairest," he used to say, "when I am worn
In days to come with writing, you shall bring
A bud of April on your shoulder borne,

And he shall chatter to my chain, or tear
My latest lyric, or shall cry to touch
The raining splendours of your ravished hair,

Until he dwindle and his eyes grow dim,
And we can worship him before the fire,
And kiss each other many thanks for him.

There in your cradling lap we will undress
Our rosy son, together praying God
To fill his life with strength and sacredness.

Then I will have him at my heart awhile"
(O baby, baby, baby, try to speak!)
"And watch the fading of his sleepy smile

Till dimples cannot follow kisses pressed
Upon the pouting slumber of his mouth,
And I restore his beauty to your breast."

Ah, dearest husband, but the child is dumb!
The lamb outspeaks him, and the day-old thrush.
How shall I voice this terror when you come?

My travail was for silence, and my dove
Can only watch his mother's moving lips,
And never give her back a word of love.

Husband, steer homeward! Husband, come,
And let me weep the truth upon your knee—
The child of our enchantment is born dumb!





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