The moon limps, with a twitching white
cane, over the village of the blind.
Eyeless hammers fall and find
by sheer hind-sight.
A bull-like anvil bellows at their bite.
Maggots swaying can remind,
in a dead sheep, of what’s behind
our eyes: a lack of light.
Unblinking cataracts spread mud
down the bleary river;
and an inkwell on the nurse’s desk pours
indelible black on each flower
in the temple garden’s vanishing blur.
Here, there’s no way out. No door.
The jungle is a tight, hallucinatory verse.
Questions and Answers
What inspired “The Village of the Blind (India)”?
The poem was inspired by: my experiences with the disabled in various Asian countries, and in Canada; my deep respect for their courage and determination in the most difficult of circumstances; my sense that it is only by chance that the able-bodied are not among the disabled, and we should empathize and sympathize with the disabled as helpfully as we can; my sense that all of us are, in a metaphorical sense, blind or unenlightened about the most crucial things.
What poetic techniques did you use in “The Village of the Blind (India)”?
- Some use of the rhyming scheme abba.
- The parallelism of imagining the universe itself as being sightless and disabled like the blind, but as courageously getting on with it.
- A rhythmic beat with abrupt, not smooth, movements, like a blind person steadying himself with unpredictable but quick movements.