Are You Listening?
By Tessa Murray
Are you listening?
Can you hear her pain?
Can you feel his heartache?
No you can’t.
You only hear what you want to hear.
You only hear the ruffle of the leaves,
Or the singing of the bees,
And yet you can’t even hear me.
How is it you can hear the hummingbird drinking from the flower,
And the ant when it moves its antenna,
But you can’t hear the scream behind the smile,
Or hear the hours of sobbing,
See the red eyes and the blotchy cheeks
Of the person sitting next to you at church
And still you’re blind!
You are deaf!
You ask, “How are you?”
But your words mean nothing.
You move on to the next thing,
Not thinking twice of the girl who said she was, “Fine.”
And you heard “fine” but she said broken
She said abused and you didn’t listen
You were too busy listening to the whisper in the trees
And looking at the color in the breeze.
“Oh isn’t it wonderful!”
You say to the person on their knees,
With a knife in their hands,
Their life on the line,
Taking it into their hands.
“Isn’t it wonderful?”
The sound of the stars and the movement of the sun
As they scream in the back of your deafened skull
But you can’t.
You don’t hear them holding on to what little sanity they have left.
Open your eyes!
Can’t you see the world needs us to hear its cry
I am not talking about some third world country
I am talking about here
Your neighbor, your friend
They are not starving for food, but for love
They are in pain and in sorrow,
At night they hold the trigger
As they stare at the stars that scream of God’s love
And they hear the wind that whispers of God’s mercy.
But it isn’t their language
You! You speak it.
You say isn’t it wonderful!
But they are deaf too!
Don’t you see we cannot be deaf?
We must hear their pain
Read through their smiles
Because we hold the key to the buried treasure
We know the language of God
And His peace and His love
But if we cannot translate it
If we stare at the wounded and say “Get better,”
While they bleed out
It does nothing
We can listen,
We have to listen,
So let me ask you again,
Are you listening?