To Bernard Bragg
Out of the shadows
Out of childhood dreams
From Fanwood, from Gallaudet,
You emerged and thrived
Grew in scope and vision
Into a teacher and player
On the world’s stage,
A generous giver of your time,
Attracting a widening circle of friends,
With warmth and generosity
Earmarking to others needed funds.
Your mind ever curious since birth
Bereft and starving for the right words
Aside from the language of the hands.
You struggle for flow of words,
For sentences that sing,
That break through the silence
Impaled on the fence of thought
Bloomed when books shook your being
And verbal language came with sign
Each feeding the other, interlocked
In thought and imagining-
Oh hands magically weaving song
And a tapestry of far-off places.
Actor, pantomimist, teacher, author, poet
Each gave you fame
But none the same
As your concern for fellow beings
And although deaf from birth,
With deaf parents, deaf relatives
You climbed the pinnacle of language flow
And carefully tuned your mind to grow.
Yours every right for pride.
Surely the angels were your guide.
– Lawrence Newman