Speech impediment

We have a collective problem

with our hearing, our seeing, too.

There are sounds that we struggle to hear,

sights that our eyes refuse to see.

There are certain frequencies,

cries, groans and wailings,

that auditory senses fail to discern

above our chosen and familiar din.

There are vistas pleasant and reassuring,

scenes of blue skies and gum trees;

with these we make pretty our walls,

convincing ourselves

that cruel and confronting landscapes

in territories beyond our own,

either do not exist

or are none of our concern.

Hear no evil, see no evil;

not my problem.

The denials of sensory perception

are employed to foster

an untroubled existence.

Thus we avert the need

to speak, to act, to confront,

and our voices become forfeit.


In the blurry stories of human origins,

a mythical man

demonstrates the timelessness

of speech impediments.

In feigned innocence, he enquires:

Am I my brother’s keeper?


Jesus, we are told, came

to open the eyes of the blind,

to unstop the ears of the deaf,

and to release the tongues

of those who will not speak.


Pick me, Jesus;

pick me!


© Ken Rookes 2012

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