The Answer

Do you know the answer
To the riddle of my silence?
It is no
Profound wisdom which I hoard for my own,
No true resentment,
And no, certainly not disdain,
Though it often seems to me
Like all of these.
It is, rather,
Seen in its proper light,
A cowardice which shames me,
Thwarts and defeats me at every step.
A cripple in a ballroom:
The rage, the impotence,
Tears of vexation reined in only
With sinister resolve.
Can you imagine how every
Urges him to flee,
Flee to that private place
Where he can shake his fist at the sky
And shout. "I don't need anyone!"
All the while, wishing he could have danced
With someone.
My cripple emerges in conversation.
I am stricken mute,
Words smothered in uncertainties.
Silence now, regret later.
A palace of ice is melting in the summer sun;
My gift of expression perishes in your presence.

George Chadderdon © 1996