Beyond Signing

Beyond Signing

Words come from nothing

into being…

N. Scott Momaday


In the rafters of her throat

where the potential skill has tarnished

from lack of use & dryness gathers like dust,

Anna holds the first words

waiting to fly, littering the wind

with her voice.  And if their utterance

should hesitant in flight,


they were carefully chosen to recall

how she felt when perceiving

Autumn’s geese over the lake. The flock wrapped

in a woven twill of bronze & black

that shimmered in the light. Their shape

flared, an open shirt sleeve

inviting her to slip through and fly

toward the sea. She belonged with them,


wanting to transition —

a daughter of the sky.






  1. Wendy,

    Each Sunday at church there is a ‘special music’ time during the service.
    Some really awesome singers have shared their talents, but the best
    I have yet to witness was last week. A woman who is a teacher at the school
    for the deaf ‘performed’ a couple of favorite hymns. She not only signed them,
    she choreographed them with graceful moves that were not a dance and yet they were.
    It was more a flowing into the music.

    Your splendid poem recalls that moment and illuminates it.

    “In the rafters of her throat

    where the skill has tarnished

    from lack of use & dust veils its dry corners,”

    Now I understand why the teacher teaches her students to interpret the music with
    movements as well as with signing. It is another way of clearing ‘the rafters of the throat’.

    Beautiful writing! Your empathy knows no ends. You always give authentic voice to
    those you honor in your writing.

    Thank you!


  2. Hi Sarah

    Thank you so, so much for this beautiful reply; I am very touched by your words and thoughts. Had just finished viewing the movie about deafness , Children Of A Lesser God”, starring William Hurt. Absolutely a gorgeous film. Again thank you!

    Take care

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hello Wendy,
    I enjoyed reading your poem & the comments here. It’s a delight to fall into this work. The art itself is such a fine invitation to join what you’ve put together. Autumn is coming – it’s such an inspirational season for those who look twice or thrice. 🙂 This year I have a Gr. 2 student whose mom is deaf. I watch their communication with honor because their smiles to each other really have their own language.
    Take care.


  4. Hi Jan

    Yes, they are very special people with special skills and it is fascinating to watch and I imagine to know or interact with them. Thank you so much for reading and commenting. I deeply appreciate it!

    My Best,


  5. Wendy. The image is utterly captivating and brought startlingly to life by your words.

    Always, your poetry soars the imagination and is a true joy to read.



  6. Hi Douglaus

    Thank you so much for your lovely comment on this poem! I sincerely appreciate and am so glad you enjoy my work!

    Thank you!


  7. Wendy this was beautiful. I started to learn sign language many years ago, never finished the course, but loved what I had learned. That film was so very beautiful… it starred Marlee Marlin too, I remember.




  8. Thank you Maryse

    So much for your beautiful thoughts on this poem and the subject, itself. Language is a personal and imaginative thing as well as an expression of one’s heart and soul. Whether words come alive through the movement of hands or those of the spoken tongue, they conjure a spiritual magic, a living matter of thought and feeling. The decision to go beyond “signing” is often very difficult for the person confronted with the choice. In one way, it liberates them into a wider world, a sky of possibilities and connections, as the poem infers with Anna, or it can make them feel intimidated, ashamed of imperfect pronounciation/sound, and invoking pity from those in the speaking world. However, the movie was beautiful and captured both sides of the issue. Again thank you!

    My Best


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