The Courtesy of the Blind
The poet reads his lines to the blind.
He hadn’t guessed that it would be so hard.
His voice trembles.
His hands shake.
He senses that every sentence
is put to the test of darkness.
He must muddle through alone,
without colors or lights.
A treacherous endeavor
for his poems’ stars,
dawns, rainbows, clouds, their neon lights, their moon,
for the fish so silvery thus far beneath the water
and the hawk so high and quiet in the sky.
He reads—since it’s too late to stop now—
about the boy in a yellow jacket on a green field,
red roofs that can be counted in the valley,
the restless numbers on soccer players’ shirts,
and the naked stranger standing in a half-shut door.
He’d like to skip—although it can’t be done—
all the saints on that cathedral ceiling,
the parting wave from a train,
the microscope lens, the ring casting a glow,
the movie screens, the mirrors, the photo albums.
But great is the courtesy of the blind,
great is their forbearance, their largesse.
They listen, smile, and applaud.
One of them even comes up
with a book turned wrongside out
asking for an unseen autograph.
“The Courtesy of the Blind” from MONOLOGUE OF A DOG: New Poems by Wisława Szymborska, translated from the Polish by Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh.
English translation copyright © 2006 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.
A New Story
Searching For Dad
Begins in 3 Days
The tree that never had to fight
For sun and sky and air and light,
But stood out in the open plain
And always got its share of rain,
Never became a forest king
But lived and died a scrubby thing.
The man who never had to toil
To gain and farm his patch of soil,
Who never had to win his share
Of sun and sky and light and air,
Never became a manly man
But lived and died as he began.
Good timber does not grow with ease,
The stronger wind, the stronger trees,
The further sky, the greater length,
The more the storm, the more the strength.
By sun and cold, by rain and snow,
In trees and men good timbers grow.
Where thickest lies the forest growth
We find the patriarchs of both.
And they hold counsel with the stars
Whose broken branches show the scars
Of many winds and much of strife.
This is the common law of life.
by Douglas Malloch
For The Record
by Adrienne Rich
The clouds and the stars didn’t wage this war
the brooks gave no information
if the mountain spewed stones of fire into the river
it was not taking sides
the raindrop faintly swaying under the leaf
had no political opinions
and if here or there a house
filled with backed-up raw sewage
or poisoned those who lived there
with slow fumes, over years
the houses were not at war
nor did the tinned-up buildings
intend to refuse shelter
to homeless old women and roaming children
they had no policy to keep them roaming
or dying, no, the cities were not the problem
the bridges were non-partisan
the freeways burned, but not with hatred
Even the miles of barbed-wire
stretched around crouching temporary huts
designed to keep the unwanted
at a safe distance, out of sight
even the boards that had to absorb
year upon year, so many human sounds
so many depths of vomit, tears
had not offered themselves for this
The trees didn’t volunteer to be cut into boards
nor the thorns for tearing flesh
Look around at all of it
and ask whose signature
is stamped on the orders, traced
in the corner of the building plans
Ask where the illiterate, big-bellied
women were, the drunks and crazies,
the ones you fear most of all: ask where you were.
“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.” ~ Khalil Gibran
Love After Love
by Derek Walcott
The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.
Have you ever been knocked down? Have you ever felt like you can’t keep going on? You’re not alone. It happens to everyone. Some people quit and stay down. They lost the will to get up and fight with every last ounce of strength. And others struggled to their feet. They rose while still weak, they chose to fight. They chose to continue the struggle. They wouldn’t quit. In the following short YouTube video, Donte Whitner has a lesson to touch you and me. Thank you for the lesson Donte.
SoulStrong/Breakaway by Siddharth AnandAbandon the past
Throw away the baggage
Suffer no more. avast(stop now)
Breakaway from the chains and shackles
Which from you, your life, take away;
Breathe again; this time without constraint
And the dreams in your eyes
Forget fear. Forget the barriers and the walls
Even the greatest of mountains on your feet will fall
When you with self-trust stand tall.
Walk away from those who try to cheat on your soul. Don’t stall.
Remember the wisdom of those wiremen The universal law will square all.
Dream and don’t give up
And if they don’t shape up
Try. try once more.
For the race of life
Is won, not, by the fastest or the strongest
But, by the one who can give his all……….
Fight On – Fight On – Fight On
This past weekend, one of my daughters and her two girls visited me. Here I am a guy dancing alone, getting into a rhythm of living alone and having my life disrupted. What I eat, when I eat, what I do and when I do it, all disrupted. What a glorious disruption! I wouldn’t trade it.
I played with the girls. We went to the zoo. We went to the pastry counter at HEB’s Central Market. The girls took me out of my game. We all went walking on nature trails. We went out for Tex-Mex. Every moment was joy-filled. I thought often of Babe and how easily she moved out of her game and joined in with whoever was in her presence. I am grateful I followed her example. Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!
It’s a good thing to be taken out of my game. I’ve learned the world doesn’t revolve around my game. I’m on this wonderful planet for the ride. I want to make it a joyful and joy-filled ride. Joy is a shared event. Other people need to be involved. It’s a funny thing, we feed each other’s joy when we are invited into their space.
This week, I will extend an open invitation to all who want to enter my space and share my joy with me. I will also readily accept any RSVP to enter a joy-filled space with another. I think I’ll start passing out the smiles, eye sparkles, and hugs.