Tuesday, February 1, 2011

If I Could Only Say...(A poem for Elliot)


for my dearest Elliot, who stutters.


If I could only say,
All the words I want to say,
And could say them in a moment,
And it didn't take all day,
I would talk and talk for hours,
Conversations would not end,
I'd pick up the phone at 2am,
To chit-chat with a friend.

If I could only say
All the words I want to say
And not feel as though my language
Was on permanent display
Then I may not be so awkward
Might not feel so ill at ease
When invited to hang out with friends
To simply 'shoot the breeze'

If I could only say
All the words I want to say
And not waste my time just wond'ring
Why I have to speak this way
I would never have to daydream
Phrases fluent - flowing free
Wouldn't envy, what to others
Seems to come so naturally.

If I could only say
All the words I want to say
You might see another side of me
Than what's here on display
I could hold obscure opinions
Tackle topics out of reach
Share my every thought and feeling
Without worry about speech.

If I could only say
All the words I want to say
And speak out for all to hear me
In a bold, confident way
I would stand upon a soap box
Take a megaphone downtown
And I'd never hear "excuse me"
"Please repeat that" or "slow down"!

If I could only say
All the words I want to say
And my words were smooth as satin
Not like corduroy and frayed
Would you see that I am threadbare
Would you see the gaping hole
That disfluency has worn
Into the fabric of my soul?

5 comments:

Elaine said...

The movie "The Kings Speech" is currently showing in the theatres and has given some viewers a small insight into the world of person who stutters.
My son Elliot (now aged 12) has stuttered since he was 2 and a half years old. The whole process has been extremely difficult for the whole family to bear, but obviously mostly for Elliot.
One day, I tried to step inside his world. This poem is a result of all the emotions I felt that day.
This is the only poem that I cannot recite out loud, due to the intense pain I feel for my sons everyday struggle!

Tess Kincaid said...

The King's Speech came to mind before I read your comment, Elaine. This is a beautifully written, heartfelt piece. Thanks so much for directing me here!

Jim Swindle said...

It's a fine poem. Years ago I went to a conference on prayer and revival. At an early-morning smaller-group prayer session, I prayed for a man at the conference who looked troubled, though I hadn't met him and didn't know his name. As the morning session ended, I caught his eye and we introduced ourselves. He stammered; one of the most severe cases of it I've ever heard. I told him that two of America's great preachers had had the same problem: Ben Haden (see changedlives.org) and Chuck Swindoll (see insight.org). Swindoll once said that when he was young, by the time he could ask them to pass a dish of food, none was left. I asked my new acquaintance whether he'd like us to pray about it. He declined. Late in the afternoon, as the conference was near an end, people lined up at a microphone to tell what God had done. He stood in line! He spoke to the whole crowd, with only slight stammering and stuttering. "I was out on the sidwalk this noon, and I said to Jesus, 'For just once in my life, for just five minutes, let me talk like everyone else.' At the end of a half hour, I realized I'd been talking normally for half an hour."

I don't know what the Lord will do in Elliot, nor when, but I know from experience that the Lord's able to answer.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

A touching poem - his shining young face shows a lot of spirit and happiness, so you must have found a way to reassure him that he is wonderful in every way. He may struggle, and I know how a parent suffers for her child's pain - but his face and his eyes have a light in them that is radiant. Yay for Elliott!

Pete Marshall said...

i liked this...i suffered a head injury 15+ years ago and developed a stutter from then...its mild but very infuriating....thank you for this...cheers pete

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