Thursday, July 5, 2012

Deaf poetry and other interesting tid bits

Following the lead of a fellow graduate student, I have decided to collect poetry, photographs, films, and any other kind of art that I can get my hands on produced by people in the Deaf community.  Recently I purchased an anthology of Deaf American Poetry (2009) edited by John Lee Clark.  I was surprised and excited to see just how much of the included poems, quotes, and discussions are about music.  Here's a teaser.

"Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard are sweeter." --John Keats (1795-1821)

Thoughts on Music

Mary Toles Peet (1836-1901)

They tell me oft of the witching song
     That thrills the listener's heart,
And of the soft melody
     Breathed forth with music's art:
They tell me, too, of the joyous strain,
    Which bursts with magic power,
From the heart where love and hope have laid
     Their brightly woven dower.

And then they tell of the sounds which come
     Afar from the sea's deep caves,
Of the voice of the wind which sighs among
     Old Ocean's towering waves;
And the wild, deep music, which comes up
     From the breakers' dashing roar
And the storm cloud's voice, when, as in wrath,
     His torrents madly pour.

And they tell me, too, of the wild bird's song
     Afar in the green woods dim,
And of the lark's glad trill, which seems
    Of praise and heartfelt hymn,
And that the feathered sprites at which
    I sit and gaze each day,
Send forth to the still heavens, as well,
     Their soft, melodious lay.

And then they tell of the sounds which come
    From the battlefield afar,
Of the thrilling peal of the "trump and drum,"
     And the martial strains of war;
Then turn from these to tell sweet tales,
     Of the evening zephyr's notes,
And all the varied melody
     Which round them ever floats.

Then I gaze into their faces, and see
     The smile no longer there,
And they grieve that never unto me
     May float, on the stilly air,
One sounds of this glorious minstrelsy,
     One echo of the voice
Which swells through Nature's thousand tones,
     Making all earth rejoice.

Yet deem not, since I am debarred
     From all the melodies of sound,
Earth has no music for my heart,
     Nor that my soul is bound
By the dull seal which has been place
     Upon my outer sense,
For the music of my inward ear
    Brings joy far more intense.

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