The Afflicted

Softly every night they come
To the picture show,
That old couple, deaf and dumb
In the second row;
Wistful watching, hand in hand,
Proud they understand.

Shut-ins from the world away,
All in all to each;
Knowing utter joy as they
Read the lips of speech . . .
Would, I wonder, I be glum
Were I deaf and dumb?

Were I quieted away,
Far from din and shock?
Were I spared the need to say
Silly things in talk?
Utter hush I would not mind . . .
Happy they!--I'm blind.

by Robert William Service

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