Naomi Long Madgett (July 5, 1923 – November 4, 2020)
If I were blind and could not watch the late sun
melting into a simmering sea
or wish on the first starlight-starbright hope of evening,
it would not be the lost sunset
that would deprive me
but the oak-gold contour of your smile.
And your hand never rising in a benediction of heights
to which my earth-bound soul can never soar
(not the absence of a planet’s borrowed light)
would leave me poor indeed.
If I were deaf, there is not a noble symphony that I would miss
so much as the melody of my name as you pronounce it.
Your slightest anger would put to shame
the most thunderous quaking of the earth.
Speak then, and let the earth revolve.
Smile, and let the oceans undulate.
If you did not sound or shine for me,
I could not be.