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This poem is taken from PN Review 92, Volume 19 Number 6, July - August 1993.

Rhapsody of a Deaf Man Tristan Corbière

Said the otologist: 'Best I can do. That's it.
The treatment's over. You're deaf. In fact
Your aural nerve's done for: in a word, it's dead.'
And he understood him well enough, not having heard.

'Well, thanks muchly, Mister, for being so good
As to make a right coffin out of my head.
From now on, with pardonable pride, I'll be able
To hear on credit …

'At a glance! But beware the eye, envious
Stand-in for a stopped ear! But what use
To pretend? It's no good jeering at folk,
They'll be able to give me more than they get.

'Me, a dumb doll dangled on a string!
Tomorrow, in the street, some friend could shake
My hand and say, "Shitface!" or, if kind, nothing;
"Not bad, thanks, and you?" I'd answer back.

'Someone bawls a word at me - I go mad to hear him;
...


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