The Courtesy of the Blind ~ Poem by Wisława Szymborska

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.

—Wisława Szymborska

“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.


Chapter 19 ~ Lisa & Nicole Promise to Make the Marathon a Fun Run

Chapter 19 ~ Lisa & Nicole Promise to Make the Marathon a Fun Run

Lisa and Nicole sat in the back seat of the family SUV as their dad and mom drove home. Their mom promised them the best pre-marathon meal ever prepared. Nicole asked Lisa all about the race at states. She wanted to know how she got to the dam first. What sprinting up Falcon’s Hill felt like. How she reached down and found an extra reserve of strength as she came close to the finish line. She had Lisa tell her the story three times. Each time Lisa asked Nicole about her season, Nicole said she wanted to hear more about Lisa’s season.

Lisa couldn’t take it much longer. “Come on Nicole, tell me all about your season. Did you like it? Do you like running in college? How is your coach? Is she as good as Coach Kappa? I think Coach Kappa is the absolute best.”

“It was a lot harder than I thought. First thing, college is so different from high school. The course work is harder. No one reminds me to go to class or study. I have lots of friends, but we’re all on our own. Most of us for the first time in our lives. It’s all up to me. It takes a lot of self discipline to follow through. The good thing, I think running cross-country helped a lot. It’s a lot like college, no asks you to train, especially in the off season. No one tells you to get up early to get your work out in. You know how it is. It’s all up to you. I think that is why all the cross-country runners did well in classes. I’m pretty close to a 4.0 in all my classes. I think it’s the discipline we learn from training that helped more than anything.”

“But how did you do on the cross country team?” asked Lisa.

“I did pretty well for a freshman. I ran third on the team. Maria Torres is our top runner. She got an invite to an Olympic training camp in Colorado Springs for the 5000 and 10000 meters. Running with her made me better. I like her a lot. Maybe this spring you can meet her. Coach said if I work hard maybe I’ll get an invite to Colorado Springs in another year. My times really improved over the season. I thought Coach Kappa worked us hard. It was easy compared to this level. Coach wants me to run the 5000 and 10000 meters in track. I’m excited about that.”

“I think you’ll be the number one runner next fall. Maria better watch out, you’ll zip right by her,” said Lisa.

Nicole touched Lisa’s arm, “I’m not competing with Maria. Coach taught us that the biggest competitor anyone has is the one we have inside us. She told us to focus on getter better and better and everything else takes care of itself.”

“I guess. The Stinson runner don’t think that way. I was happy I beat them,” said Lisa. She reached into her backpack and pulled out the Thanksgiving Marathon race packets. It wasn’t a big marathon as marathons go, race organizers expected about six hundred runners. Lisa hand a packet to Nicole and said, “Here’s the packet I got at All Sports. It’s got everything we need for tomorrow.”

The sisters opened their packets and the first thing they pulled out were their bib numbers. They had to pin them to the front of their race shirts. Lisa’s bib number was 215 and Nicole’s bib number was 216. On the back of the bib number was a small electronic timing chip. The chip digitally recorded their times at different points of the race and transmitted the to the race officials who posted the runners times at checkpoint online. Their parents could follow their progress with their smart phones and still wait at the finish line.

It was Lisa’s mom who broke up the marathon conversation going on in the back seat of the car. She said, “I don’t want you girls to race in the marathon. It’s not about time. It’s not about winning. You’ve both had full cross country season. I don’t want two sick daughters hanging around mopping. It’s a fun run, promise? If either one of you feels tired or out of it during the race, the both of you stop. No competition and no finishing without the other. Promise dad and me.”

Lisa and Nicole reached over the seat and grabbed hold of their mother’s hand, “Promise mom, we’ll finish together or we won’t finish at all.”

Lisa laughed, “Mom worries too much. I was running under five minute miles for cross country. When I won states, I averaged four minutes and forty seconds for the course. I bet we can do five thirty easy.”

Nicole laughed, “I’m not a math brain, but I know times. If we did that pace for a marathon we’d finish under two thirty. That would be pretty close to an age record if you did that. This is our first marathon. Most marathons have an age requirement and you have to be at least sixteen or eighteen. You’re lucky this marathon set the age requirement lower. They do that for a reason. Coach told me I’d know I ran a marathon when I finished. We’ll need to cut back the pace a lot. It’s a fun run like mom said.”

“That’s not fair. I’ll feel like a zombie if we go too slow. Can’t we try it at my pace and slow down if we get tired?” said Lisa.

What if we try to maintain a bit over seven minutes pace. We’ll be right around three hours,” countered Nicole.

“That’s like sleep walking. I can walk that fast. Honest. Can we try to go a little bit faster? Please?”

Nicole said, “It’s time to listen to mom and your big sister.”

Lisa pretended to pout, then smiled and the sisters fist bumped.

Today’s Quote on Friendship by Camus

Don’t walk in front of me, I may not follow.
Don’t walk behind me, I may not lead.
Just walk beside me and be my friend ~  Albert Camus

The Hope of Loving ~ Poem by Meister Eckhart

The Hope of Loving

by Meister Eckhart

What keeps us alive, what allows us to endure?
I think it is the hope of loving,
or being loved.
I heard a fable once about the sun going on a journey
to find its source, and how the moon wept
without her lover’s
warm gaze.
We weep when light does not reach our hearts. We wither
like fields if someone close
does not rain their

Forgiveness ~ Poem by Sri Chinmoy

Forgiveness by Sri Chinmoy

If I cannot forgive myself
For all the blunders
That I have made
Over the years,
Then how can I proceed?
How can I ever
Dream perfection-dreams?
Move, I must, forward.
Fly, I must, upward.
Dive, I must, inward,
To be once more
What I truly am
And shall forever remain.


Today’s Quote – January 10, 2018

Today’s Quote

The beginning of love is the will to let those we love be perfectly themselves, the resolution not to twist them to fit our own image. ~ Thomas Merton

It Felt Love – Poem by Hafez

It Felt Love – by Hafez 

Did the rose

Ever open its heart

And give to this world
All its


It felt the encouragement of light
Against its


We all remain