You Have to be Deaf to Understand

by Willard J. Madsen

[Condensed]

What is it like to “hear” a hand?

You have to be deaf to understand!

What is it like to be a small child,

In a school, in a room void of sound–

With a teacher who talks and talks and talks;

And then when she does come around to you,

She expects you to know what she’s said?

You have to be deaf to understand.

What is it like to be laughed in the face

When you try to repeat what is said;

Just to make sure that you’ve understood,

And you find that the words were misread–

You want to cry out, “Please help me, friend”?

You have to be deaf to understand.

What is it like to be deaf and alone

In the company of those who can hear–

And you only guess as you go along,

For no one’s there with a helping hand,

to help you keep up with words and song?

You have to be deaf to understand.

What is it like to “hear” a hand?

Yes, you have to be deaf to understand!

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