Poetry for Cripples

Poet of Cripples

Let me be a poet of cripples,
of hollow men and boys groping
to be whole, of girls limping toward
womanhood and women reaching back,
all slipping and falling toward the cavern
we carry within, our hidden void,
a place for each to become full, whole,
room of our own, space to grow in ways
unimaginable to the straight
and the narrow, the small and similar,
the poor, normal ones who do not know
their poverty. Look with care, look deep.
Know that you are a cripple too.
I sing for cripples; I sing for you.

We talked a little about this poem by Jim Ferris in class but I wanted to bring it up because it has a power and presence that I find fascinating. This sonnet creates a unified identity for the disabled. Ferris is not attempting to recognize individuals, but create a community for which this poem is the spokesperson. However, Ferris does not stop with including the disabled, he also wants “the normal ones who do not know their poverty.” to “look with care” and “know that you are a cripple too.” The speaker sings for every person. The narration in Poetry for Cripples almost alludes to Langston Hughes’ famous I, too, Sing America and so brings our minds to a noble cause for justice and civil rights. The allusion allows the reader to compare the disability and civil rights movements and relate them within their own minds. I believe this allusion is powerful and may be why this sonnet resonates so strongly with me. It almost presents the need for equality and recognition as a matter of fact almost duh moment where the reader is forced to recognize the similarity between the two movements and realize disabled Americans deserve the same rights Black Americans were denied for so long.

The Deaf Bilingual Coalition

Article

this is blog post I have found while researching deaf culture for my disabilities paper. The author-who is deaf and speaks both ASL and English- first gives information about what the deaf bilingual coalition (DBC) is and what they are really trying to do and then moves on to a personal story about his son who recently became deaf. I would like to focus more on the second half of his post which is mostly about his son and the success that he can have in life. I appreciated the calm way Mark Drolzburgh made his point that being deaf does not mean a child is deprived of a chance for success. He provides an excerpt from a letter that his son’s auditist sent them that said “Without use of this (hearing aid) system, he will be unable to reach his full communicative and academic potential.” Drolzburgh does not become angry with her and react in a harsh way, but he does suggest that, to him at least, the suggestion is absurd since he, his wife, and many deaf friends received degrees of higher learner and hold well-paying jobs. However, many deaf children are born to hearing parents who don’t know other deaf people and aren’t sure how to handle communication. The idea of their child not reaching his or her potential is frightening so of course they would seek out any solution. This is the mind set that is dangerous. Because the general population does not interact with or understand deaf culture they assume that being deaf would force a person into isolation, when it is really the opposite. Drolzburgh’s solution, which I agree with, would be to make ASL instruction accessible to children and adults who want to learn. Babies who learn ASL before they learn to speak have been shown to have higher IQs and a better understanding of language. The only way for hearing people to get deaf culture is to allow them to be apart of it by learning ASL. It is a way of bringing people together and disrupting the stereotypes that have seeped into society