“A Request,” by Ursula Le Guin

 

This poem was featured in The Writer’s Almanac today. It seems a fitting a thoughtful reflection on pastoral care and visitation to those who have lost the ability to communicate.

A Request
by Ursula Le Guin

Should my tongue be tied by stroke
listen to me as if I spoke

and said to you, “My dear, my friend,
stay here a while and take my hand;

my voice is hindered by this clot,
but silence says what I cannot,

and you can answer as you please
such undemanding words as these.

Or let our conversation be
a mute and patient amity,

sitting, all the words bygone,
like a stone beside a stone.

It takes a while to learn to talk
the long language of the rock.”
“A Request” by Ursula K. Le Guin, from Finding My Elegy: New and Selected Poems 1960-2010. © Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012

 

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