What finds me when I speak?

I am regressed, and lost to laws,

my hands a pair of ragged claws,

my mouth a toothless beak.

And, far from being weak,

I fear that, should I venture speech

with sheepish eyes within my reach,

my voice would come too strong—

would sound to me a candid song

of humble hope and kindly sigh;

would seem to them that I

had gouged into an earthy grave,

exhumed a tentacle-infested corpse

all ichor-stained and bloated with disease

and, setting it upon my knees,

had dared to call it "Brother."

Oh, I would be the Other,

and they would see, but never hear.

Such is the way of fear;

there have been times when I have heard

the gently phrased, accepted words,

words of sweet and gilded peach;

to hear those words in proper speech

makes evident my lowly foetor,

for even should I take them to the letter

and make of them my sweetly song,

the meaning would not linger long;

my mandibles would smile

and coat the words in brownish bile

until they question my intent

and ask,

"Now, is this what you meant?"

and I say,

"No, that is not it at all."

And then my song will fall,

like apples on an autumn riverbank,

or apples hurled at an armored beetle's flank;

will drown by human voices in the sea,

and not a soul shall sing to me.