VI. The Deaf Man (7:31-37)

I cannot tell
What these gestures mean.
Why do you all wave
Your hands at me?

I can only guess at
The words on your lips
And can only make
Vain attempts
To do as you do,
To speak as you speak.

By your wrinkled brows
And worried looks,
I know I am failing.

I fail also to understand.
Where are you taking me?
Who is this man?

Oh, don’t leave me!
You with your mute tongues,
Who pass me and scorn me—
Yet, please, please
Do not forsake me.

Where is he taking me?

I try to shout
But fall into the silence
That is always waiting—
That painful, ringing
Silence.

We stop.

The crowd is out of sight.
The man reaches out.

I flinch,
Expecting a blow;
It’s all I know.

But no blow comes,
Just a soft warmth
As he holds the sides of my head
And touches the tip of my tongue
With his most eloquent hands.

Eyes wide, bewildered,
I watch and feel
But do not hear.

He sighs.
I feel his breath on my face
I see a shape on his lips.

No—more!
More!
More than see!

Immediately,
before the word
Has flown from His lips,
I hear.
I hear it!

“Ephphatha”

“Be opened,”

Oh, let those who have ears—
I, now, included,
Hear! Hear! Hear!

The crowd, I now find,
Is out of earshot
As well as sight.

Immediately,
Swaddled in silence
Away from the throng,
My newborn ears
Are tuned to one voice:
That of my Saviour and song.

Immediately,
I do what is natural,
Though moments ago,
Impossible:
I shout and proclaim
True hearing and healing.
I revel in the sound of my voice,
For in it is the healer’s glory;
It echoes his whispered mercy,
Immediately.

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