Poem: ‘Labels’ by Colin Thomson

Posted on December 14, 2012

Do you see me or the labels given to me
So kindly by society? Do I fit into a category
Deaf or hearing? You see I’m still trying to find my identity

Did anyone stop to think
Oh you’re deaf let me buy you a drink
Does anyone even care?
The labels you learnt, the scars are still there.

We’re all born with a clean slate
We all start with a fresh mind
We all want to integrate
But your labels leave me behind
Suppose I am a different kind

Yes we all learn to explore
We learn to love, even hate
I wanted to learn even more
But your labels closed the door

If I spoke would you understand
Would you be offended
If I use my hands
It’s what nature intended

My hearing aid is for you
To help you get through
I don’t understand a word you say
I look for clues on your face
But you just turned away
Gave me a new label today

Deaf, part hearing, hearing impaired
Do you ever ask me or have you ever cared
Sign this form, bus travel for free
So now you tell me it is a disability
When we say it’s a language minority –

If you can hear are you deaf impaired
Does a label give you identity
Or tie you down, instead of setting you free
If only you would take the time
To communicate with me and share my mind

Labels are part of history
So open up your mind and set me free.

With thanks to you know who.

Copyright Colin Thomson November 2012
As well as being a poet, Colin Thomson is a family support worker and is a freelance BSL/Deaf Awareness trainer. He is also a signed singer, possibly one of the first in the UK, performing for the first time over 35 years ago. He has performed on See Hear and at various Deaf events, and is the fourth generation of his family to be born Deaf. 
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Posted in: colin thomson, poem