To a Deaf and Dumb Little Girl

Like a loose island on the wide expanse,
Unconscious floating on the fickle sea,
Herself her all, she lives in privacy;
Her waking life as lonely as a trance,
Doom’d to behold the universal dance,
And never hear the music which expounds
The solemn step, coy slide, the merry bounds.
The vague, mute language of the countenance.
In vain for her I smooth my antic rhyme;
She cannot hear it. All her little being
Concentrated in her solitary seeing—
What can she know of beauty or sublime?
And yet methinks she looks so calm and good,
God must be with her in her solitude!

Source: Poets of the English Language (Viking Press, 1950)
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