SZYMBORSKA, Wislawa, The Courtesy of the Blind, trad. Bruce Beiderwell, Jeffrey M.

Wheeler in The Literary Experience, Thomson Wadsworth, Boston, 2008. A 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 poem’s stars, dawn, 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 valley, 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 would 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, mirrors, the photo albums. But great is the courtesy of the blind, freat is their forbearance, their largesse. They listen, smile and applaud. One of them even comes up With a book turned wrong side out Asking for an unseen autograph.

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