Edmund Clarence Stedman



Helen Keller

by Edmund Clarence Stedman

Mute, sightless visitant,
From what uncharted world
Hast voyaged into Life's rude sea,
With guidance scant;
As if some bark mysteriously
Should hither glide, with spars aslant
And sails all furled?

In what perpetual dawn,
Child of the spotless brow,
Hast kept thy spirit far withdrawn --
Thy birthright undefiled?
What views to thy sealed eyes appear?
What voices mayst thou hear
Speak as we know not how?
Of grief and sin hast thou,
O radiant child,
Even thou, a share? Can mortal taint
Have power on thee unfearing
The woes our sight, our hearing,
Learn from Earth's crime and plaint?

Not as we see
Earth, sky, insensate forms, ourselves,
Thou seest, -- but vision-free
Thy fancy soars and delves,
Albeit no sounds to us relate
The wondrous things
Thy brave imaginings
Within their starry night create.

Pity thy unconfined
Clear spirit, whose enfranchised eyes
Use not their grosser sense?
Ah, no! thy bright intelligence
Hath its own Paradise,
A realm wherein to hear and see
Things hidden from our kind.
Not thou, not thou -- 't is we
Are deaf, are dumb, are blind!



Poems now first collected:
Copyright 1897
Houghton, Mifflin And Company
Boston And New York