"I Love You" - sign.   A stock image from ASL (American Sign Language)

“I Love You” – sign. A stock image from ASL (American Sign Language)

With all the media attention on the gentleman who was ‘signing’ at Nelson Mandela’s Memorial, I thought I’d share my poem about my own observations of a conversation between a young couple who were deaf.  I have to admit, I was absolutely awe-struck by the subtle beauty of their gestures and expressions as they shaped the air around them into words.


Their range, a vacuum of gestures.
Their language, a mysterious dance
Of lips and limbs,
Fingers and forms.

He moves, she responds
And shapes her reply.
Wordless, he takes it
And remodels his answer.

Working their conversation;
Perfecting in a soundless world –
They listen without hearing,
Translating this silence into meaning.

by Emma van Woerkom ©2013


About thehaywriters

The Hay Writers : a highly active & forward thinking writing group based in Hay-on-Wye, the world famous 'Town of Books'. ✍️ In 2019 we celebrated our 40th anniversary.
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