Teaching My Sister the Silent Alphabet

In bed, at night, have you ever reached the point
where word and muscle meet – where you
attempt to think in words without moving
a muscle in your mouth and stumble
upon the secret, white, silent alphabet?
There are certain letters, certain sounds
you simply cannot think without
a twitch from your mouth muscles -
so you play dead. You lie there and
try and underwrite the thoughts…
some graphemes, phonemes, plosives
and fricatives are possible in silent,
white and secret thought alone but
no utterance seems completely pronounced.
The silent alphabet thus has several letters
missing; and by dawn you might still
be lying there, awake, trying and trying
to think the word “whisky” without
a movement of the tongue. It can
be done but is found further in
the mind, where hands can not go.
That’s why seeing in the dark is so tough.

John F. B. Tucker

If you have any thoughts on this poem, John F B Tucker would be pleased to hear them.