Poem with Citations from the O.E.D.
First: voz because I recall the taste
of beans wrapped in a corn
tortillasomeone brings it
to me, retrieves what's left
on the plate, the murmured vowels
taking root, taking holdmi
lengua materna. Then later learn
another spelling, label the "box"
where sound's produced, draw too
the tongue, the teeth, the lips. The voyce
that is dysposid to songe and melody
hath thyse proprytees: smalle,
subtyll, thicke, clere, sharpe...
in thirteen ninety-eight. But what
of the deaf-mute, his winning shout
BINGO!knocking me over?
Huxley noted: voice may exist
without speech and speech may exist
without voice. The first time I spoke
with my father was on the phone, so his
was all I had to go on: that,
and what he'd saythings he'd hear
"inside." In Doctor's Dilemma
Shaw wrote: When my patients
tell me they hear voices
I lock them up. The pitch, the tone, the range:
a way of trying to know him. Now hers
and his are in the pages of a book:
Un baile de máscaras by Sergio
Ramírez, his characters echoing
words, rhythms I heard
until she died, hearing them as well
for months after whenever I spoke
with him. Who hath not shared that calm
so still and deep, The voiceless thought
which would not speak but weep.