Never to Hear

Never to hear laughter,
And running water,
And the play of birds,
And the garden’s motor.
Never to hear words.

Never to hear walking feet,
Never to hear love’s heat,
Leaves in the wind,
Wind in the wakeful mind
And the music of mankind.

Never to hear
Thunderbolt, cats purr,
Hooves chopping the turf,
Bat, springboard, ball,
Window, step, guard door,
The wing, the wheel,
The singing sail,
The seething surf,
The whispering field.

Never to hear
The saucepan’s clatter,
Coffee the kitchen milled,
The apron and the waiter,
Hail, and the gulping gutter.

Never to hear the riverboat,
And the flickering lure
Casting its sweet fire,
The click-click of the mouse
And key in a silenced house,
Carillons in the hills,
Cowbells at clanking wells.

And the crunch of morning’s toast
Grinding bread to the last
Crumb of an eardrum’s appetite
For the comfort of sea-shells
Keeping the sea’s song
In a hemisphere of stone.
Never to hear . . .