Tag Archives: lesson

The Braille Lesson

16 Nov

by Paul Hostovsky

The letters were all locked up in the Braille cell
calling to her in one voice as she passed her index
over them. It was her first day, her first lesson.
How could they possibly fit in there, she asked him,
and how would she ever learn to tell them apart
without a pencil sharpener for her finger? She laughed
as she said this, and her laughter touched something in him
that needed to be touched. He suggested she try
touching the letters to her lips, because her lips
knew better, and could feel what her fingers could not,
not yet, being a beginner. Then he took a deep breath
as she held the white page up to her face, so it looked
like she was reading with her eyes, but really she was
reading with her lips. And yes, she could feel the dots
better that way, she said, and continued grazing them
with her imperceptibly pursed lips—not kissing them
exactly, just grazing them with her mouth, the way lovers
do between kisses. And although his lips would never
find her lips, her finger did eventually learn all the letters
and contractions by heart. And to this day it still
sometimes returns to her lips, to tap there abstractedly,
as though thinking of him. Or so he likes to think.


Paul Hostovsky is the author of four books of poetry, most recently Hurt Into Beauty (2012, FutureCycle Press). His poems have won a Pushcart Prize and two Best of the Net Awards. He makes his living in Boston as a Braille Instructor and Sign Language Interpreter. To read more of his work, visit him at http://www.paulhostovsky.com


The Lesson

2 Aug

by Darragh the Poet

Now that wasn’t all that hard, was it?
Now if she just knew the half of it.
Awaken by a wrapping at my door
Taken from me this day the norm
I stumble and trail myself to the door
Eyes plundered from sight months before
Greetings from a teacher, from a friend, greetings from a Godsend.
Reluctance from a student, from a cripple, irritance I can’t mend.
Hands shaken and accolades shared
but its for this day I am unprepared
Elbow in hand she guides me to my chair
As I trace her arm down to where my back rests fair
She tells me of my new life to come and how it shall be
But right now I can’t see anything so whats the point for me
Venturing to the car as sounds creep in I hear the days battles
What awaits for me out there but chatters
My small view on a world so exspansive
No conformation of the steps ahead of me
Sitting in her car as we travel into the depths of hell as my head begins to swirl
The window lowered while my sub-conscious unknowingly absorbs the speaking world
Approaching our destination from circles traveled and many stops passed
Finally coming to rest in a place no more framiliar than the memories to come everlast
I step out from the car into this new jungle, this new planet
Unfold my cane using two tap skim to fan it
Back and fourth in step to find my shoreline
Barking dogs, speeding cars, footfall of people are combined
I pause to listen to the world speak to me
As I hear a new way that is to be me
Wall of cars in the street stampeding by on the road like a herd of wild animals running by on their path to a hunt.
Crossing signals chirpping high above on light poles like birds in the amazon singing in rain forrest trees from above.
She stands beside me and says this to me
Now that wasn’t all that bad, was it?
I begin my trek through this jungle amungst the trees and wild beasts
Carving pathways and ruts to follow a path unseen
Stampeding animals to my left and mountain sides on my right
And it is my dime tip telling me where to go
Pedestrians walking by in line in pace with life
like soldiers marching to the neighboring kingdom on looking to us as though we were an oddity not to speak as to give away our obvious blindness and disability.
Rather a commodity and a new ability
Tapping sounds off sides of objects
Echoing down tunnels and off deadly cliff edges
Wind gusts breaking through openings and shadow sounds hiding in the dark
Marching soldiers gaulking in awe as I alone conquer a new kingdom
An internal uprising to rebel against vision
My ears lead my feet as my cane makes  the split descision
A root exposed in the pathway and my feet graze over
Curb edges keep me in line as I carve my own path
Parking meters say hi as I pass and light poles hum their tunes
I come to the curbcut and its domed dots of declaration
Wind of cars in stride intersected by crossing sounds of vehicles
I did it, I made it one city block I finally proclaimed this.
Now that wasn’t all that hard, was it?
Now if she just knew the half of it.

Darragh became totally blind after a head trauma in 2004.  He says that a lot of his writing has his visions as a blind person that he sees in people or dreams.   You can see more of Darragh’s poetry own at www.welcometodarragh.blogspot.com.