That which is inside the soul must find its way out. For every one of us, expression is a dire and deep desire.

Some constrain it, allowing it to become anger or disappointment, while others cannot contain themselves and sing like nobody’s business.  Many dread to express themselves for fear of being thought the fool. And just as many loose their feelings on the world, embracing foolishness in all its cockeyed glory.

With age our voice finds reason in a variety of forms. But to me the voices of children are the most beautiful of all. To speak out with innocence, candor, and the spontaneous purity of expression is a gift I wish we could all have held onto into our adult years. Never were we more genuine than when we spoke in our youth.

I cringe still when I think back on all the archaic utterances of grown ups who snapped, “Children should be seen and not heard.”

Beyond being callously dismissive, there is hardened cruelty in such a remark. The damage it does to children is immeasurable.

Our voice finds expression in behavior as well as words. Some of the most beautifully eloquent people I have ever known made the very best use of their silence to demonstrate the finest emotions.

For the most part, as true human beings, we need the nuance, warmth, tenor and tone of another person’s voice.

Finally there are the little voices. The whispers that are privy to none but you. Sometimes they terrify and fill you with doubt. But if you listen to the sound of your own voice, your inner voice, you can rise above doubt and judgment.

A few years back, a very dear friend who was a raconteur, singer and performer was about to undergo throat surgery. His vocal cords were his life and there was a distinct probability that this procedure might well leave him mute. In sympathy for his terror and anguish at going under the surgeon’s knife, I composed a bit of verse for him. It goes like this:

(© 2013 Michael J. Cahill)

A voice —
A fertile, fragile thing
It makes to laugh
It makes to sing

It calls the dog
It greets a friend
Its tone can brighten
Or offend

It brings to life
The charm, the wit
The idiot

It makes mistakes
It makes amends
It gets a face slapped
Now and then

But what’s important
In he end
One’s truest voice
Comes from within

A clownish dance
A comic pose
Your underwear
Outside your clothes

An understanding
Nod or stare
A sparkling smile
A poem, a prayer

So fear not
To be absent of
That voice I have
Come best to love

The voice that best
A friend defines
Is found between
The spoken lines

By the way, my friend survived the surgery handsomely.

And now he won’t shut up. C’est la vie.




16 thoughts on “Voice

  1. Beautiful poem, great post! I was one of those children, hushed, shushed, and had to look pretty. I will not, dare not, take my children’s pure and natural voice away.. and in them, I look to find the truth reflected in my heart as once was.
    Thank-you..can’t wait to keep reading!

  2. A friend and I was just talking about this earlier today; “That which is inside the soul must find its way out.” We were talking about it on a healing level. You have to face these things, work through them/heal them, than let them go. This has been the most cathartic week for me. All kinds of issues have been purging themselves on paper (well, computer screens, anyway) and it feels good. I may just keep writing. 🙂 What a beautiful verse and it helped your friend. That’s great!
    A to Z April Blogging Challenge

  3. Fantastic post (again!) and your friend must have had huge support from your voice, I’m glad to hear it went well. I so much agree on what you say about children, and there is a lot we can learn from them, both as to what they say, and the uncensored way they say it.

    • Lee, what a delight to hear from you. I’m making the rounds as best I can and feel I never make a dent. There are so very many talented writers whose work I feel I’m missing because I don’t have 30 hours a day to read all their wonderful contributions.

      I’m out of town for the last four days of this helping my father in Florida so I’m truly struggling to meet my deadlines and from someone else’s computer to boot.

      Please know that your continued encouragement sustains me more than you might imagine. I thank you. Cheers.

  4. Beautiful poem, Michael. My husband’s voice is also critical to his life’s work, so I understand the fear that goes with losing it since it often gets tentative when its been heavily used. However, yes, our voice reaches beyond our voice. Good post. God bless, Maria at Delight Directed Living

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