9/13/2004

from a recent issue of the new yorker (aug 9 & 16, i think): The Kindness of the Blind by Wislawa Szymborska (translated from Polish by Justyna Kostkowska) A poet is reading to the blind. He did not suspect it was so hard. His voice is breaking. His hands are shaking. He feels that here each sentence is put to the test of the dark. It will have to fend for itself, without the lights or colors. A perilous adventure for the stars in his poems, for the dawn, the rainbow, the clouds, neon lights, the moon, for the fish until now so silver under water, and the hawk so silently high in the sky. He is reading -- for it is too late to stop -- of a boy in a jacket yellow in the green meadow, of red rooftops easy to spot in the valley, the restless numbers on the players' shirts, and a nude stranger in the door cracked open. He would like to pass over -- though it's not an option -- all those saints on the cathedral's ceiling, that farewell wave from the train window, the microscope lens, ray of light in the gem, video screens, and mirros, and the album with faces. Yet great is the kindness of the blind, great their compassion and generosity. They listen, smile, and clap. One of them even approaches with a book held topsy-turvy to ask for an invisible autograph.

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