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The Blind Man`s Stick

by Zettel 

Posted: 19 January 2005
Word Count: 194

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The Blind Man's Stick

The blind man’s stick sees his world
tap, tap, tapping truth into his sightless mind.
He may misread the stick, but it cannot lie.
This urgent finger tip, echoes in his soul.
In reaching out to touch the hidden world
life to lifeless wood his mind bestows
and through this probing touch he knows
what we can only see.

Eyes can lie but hands will show the truth
uncertain of deceiving acts
and never trustful words
hearts are captured by these hands
a visible grammar of the soul
a graceful sweep of emphasis
a palm of peace and care
the slender fingers dance with grace
to the music of the thought they trace
in the uncomprehending air.
Hands that pray and supplicate
with tender grace
reverse the blind man’s stick
look closely for the truth is there.

Who is this other mind, this other heart
this deepest self where passion lies
that hides darkly with a downward glance?
Unbidden, unrestrained, these hands
catch the watcher’s heart
have courage, leave them free
do not think about them
do not even try
for if you do
they too will learn to lie.

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Comments by other Members

Ticonderoga at 16:34 on 21 January 2005  Report this post
'a visible grammar of the soul' is a lovely line; elsewhere I feel that two conflicting forms are at work - which may be meant, given the topic - with neither achieving dominance: there's a free-form poem wrestling with a coupleted Pope-like (poet!) piece of poetic philosophising and the contest sometimes gets in the way of the expression. There's great stuff here; I just think you need to pick one style and run with it.



engldolph at 16:00 on 22 January 2005  Report this post
Hi Z,

Some very striking Lines I like very much include:

- life to lifeless wood his mind bestows
- the slender fingers dance with grace
to the music of the thought they trace
- Unbidden, unrestrained, these hands
catch the watcher’s heart

I really like the mirroring of the human soul in the tap of a stick..which seems to be the essence of the philosophical narrative..

The overall style of this, to me, is strongly dramatic Shakespearean, rather than contemporary...particularly with some of the more traditional words, such as: mind bestows / deceitful acts. / this other mind, this other heart.

But I wonder if this message does not get a bit lost in the style.


Zettel at 19:17 on 22 January 2005  Report this post
Hey Mike and Mike

Thanks for the comments. This sort of started with a philosophical idea and what you are both saying I think is that it shows. As you say Ti, there are competing aims here. Poetically it is rather better to let an idea emerge from concentration on the words rather than have a formed idea that you then try to express poetically. Poetry is probably not the right medium to try to express such ideas. A bit perhaps like a didactic play where the message buries the drama.

I've tried to make this one work for while and in the end thought I'd post it to get some feeback. Thanks for the comments,


jewelsx at 19:45 on 22 January 2005  Report this post
I particularly enjoyed the last stanza.

great writing - definetly got some layers, i had to read it a few times to fully appreciate some of the more subtle points.


Zettel at 03:48 on 23 January 2005  Report this post

Very encouraging - thank you.

Glad you liked it.



engldolph at 10:30 on 23 January 2005  Report this post
Hi Z

Just a quick thought -

I was reading again your Sunday Stripper ..which I think is a brillant piece of work. I think it is a perfect example of how when you keep the philosophy in the background (which it is, but still clear) and write in a straight, strong, uniquely Z-voice, you bring great results.


Zettel at 16:51 on 23 January 2005  Report this post
Thanks Mike - interesting observation.


fireweed at 19:55 on 24 January 2005  Report this post
Hi, Zettel, I like the idea of the blind man's stick offering almost a higher form of experience - knowledge as opposed to mere visual sense impressions. I agree with the preceding comments that the style is something of a barrier to the meaning of this poem. It may well need time to germinate into a strong seedling. I would come back to this in a couple of months - what you really want/need to say may be clearer then and find expression more naturally.

Some lovely phrases but a little too abstact - could it be rooted more in an actual place/time?


Zettel at 19:41 on 25 January 2005  Report this post

Another useful, perceptive comment. Thanks


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