Poem: “Lip-reading the Poets” by Susan Utting for Deaf Awareness Week! 

A bit of exciting news from our poet, Susan Utting.

She read her recent poem “Lip-Reading the Poets” at the Henley Arts Trail last week and was asked by a woman in the audience if she could have a copy to submit to her British Sign Language Interpreters’ association. They liked it and posted on-line for Deaf Awareness Week.

Lip-reading the Poets

More than lips, it’s in the whole face,
              meaning beyond the shape of a mouth,
more than puckering oos and grinning ees,
              the open-wides of ah and eye
the press of emm and bee.

The whole body signifies –
              steady as a sonnet’s pulse
then quick as a stop-frame animation.
              There is no signing woman here
to spell out words, spring out her fingers

to say beautiful with everything she’s got,
              but still from here I catch
the poignancy of a poet’s raised shoulders,
              a torso’s earnest forward slope,
the raised chin of a challenge.

The signing woman isn’t here
              to sweep her chest – one hand
for like, two crossed palms for love –
              but still I see her raise her arms
high and wide, jazz-handing her applause.

Susan Utting