The Blind Man

A blind man, on the thoroughfare,
Startle-eyed as an owl by day,
Piping a dismal little air,
Taps here and there, loses his way,

Tootles awry his time-old ditty
Undauntedly, as by his side
Lopes his dog, guides him through the city,
Specter diurnal, sleepy-eyed.

Days, stark, wash over him, unlit;
He hears the dark world’s constant din
And all that life unseen, as it
Rolls, rushing, like a flood walled in!

God knows what black chimeras haunt
That brain opaque, what lot befalls;
And what dire spells the mind is wont
To scribble on those death-vault walls!

Like prisoner grown half-mad, who, pent,
Rots beneath Venice in her jail
Eternal, and whose hours are spent
Scratching a message with a nail...

But when the torch, in tomb immured,
Dies in the breath of death, maybe
The soul, to shades’ gloom long inured,
Will see with deathly clarity!

Selected Lyrics, translated by Norman R. Shapiro

Last updated February 06, 2012