No Words For Voices 

No Words For Voices

I sit alone in the French windows.

They can see me from the orchard garden; many are pointing together as if to demonstrate their discovery of my presence to the others who have not yet spotted me.

When they begin to shout, I assume a dignified silence and a statuesque immovability, not because I moodily resent their intrusion to my privacy but simply that if I shout back I would not hear their words. Mouthing off warning shots, they are, I assume. The world is a brash place these days...

After listening for a while, I recall my companion in solitude as she fidgets in her wing armchair further back in the shadowy room.

“They say the house is on fire, my dear,” I nearly say, but bite my tongue surreptitiously upon it first under-resting the edge of the top teeth in the first syllable of my by now fictitious sentence.

Soon, the window glass clouds over as if the sand from which it has in part been manufactured is becoming atomised grey matter. The house is aware of its own proximity to Hell, even if we the old codgers inside it are blissfully oblivious of such imminence.

For many years now, even from before I can remember, we have grown old gracefully: we have religiously followed the dance choreographed by God’s angels in the master bedroom of Heaven. Nothing has been too beautiful for the likes of us, even in dotage and eventual senility. They say (whoever “they” have the cheek to be) that with the onset of over-extended life comes the inability to use words with any degree of intelligence and articulation. I prove them wrong merely by pre-empting such accusations with the articulation of the very same words THEY pride themselves in using. Just with a few pumps of my faithful lungs upon the vocal instrument, the word “articulation” will trip off my tongue a real treat.

The tragedy of any handicap is the fact that those so cursed often fall short of finding the words to describe and explore their affliction: philosophical consideration of their failing is quite beyond their reach wholly due to the effect of the same failing upon their minds. A vicious circle, if ever there was one ... like love gradually transmuting to hate in relationships of once unshakeable affection.

I turn towards the only person I have really cared for (even if I haven’t always shown it) and open my mouth to warn her. It may be too late for me, but...

My mouth proves to be without tongue whatsoever and I cannot even compliment my darling on the return of her flaming red hair which first attracted me all those long years ago.

(published ‘Massacre’ 1992)

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