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By Stanley Moss

I teach my friend, a fisherman gone blind, to cast

true left, right or center and how far

between lily pads and the fallen cedar.

Darkness is precious, how long will darkness last?

Our bait, worms, have no professors, they live

in darkness, can be taught fear of light.

Cut into threes even sixes they live

separate lives, recoil from light.

He tells me, “I am seldom blind

when I dream, morning is anthracite,

I play blind man’s bluff,

I cannot find myself,

my shoe, the sink,

tell time, but that’s spilled milk and ink,

the lost and found  I cannot find.

I can tell the difference between a mollusk and a whelk,

a grieving liar and a lemon rind.”

Laughing, he says, “I still hope the worm will turn,

pink, lank, and warm, dined

out on apples of good fortune.

Books have a faintly legible smell.

Divorced from the sun, I am a kind

of bachelor henpecked by the night.

Sometimes I use my darkness well—

in the overcast and sunlight of my mind.

I can still wink, sing, my eyes are songs.”

Darkness is precious, how long will darkness last?

He could not fish, he could not walk, he fell

in his own feces. He wept. He died where he fell.

The power of beauty to right all wrongs

is hard for me to sell.


Notes:

Poetry Out Loud Participants: We have fixed a typo in line 18: "worn" should be "worm".  Also in January 2014, a typo was corrected in line 19: “land” was corrected to “lank.” Readers should not be penalized for reciting “land.”

Stanley Moss, “A Blind Fisherman” from God Breaketh Not All Men’s Hearts Alike. Copyright © 2011 by Stanley Moss. Reprinted by permission of Seven Stories Press.

Source: God Breaketh Not All Men’s Hearts Alike (Seven Stories Press, 2011)

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Poet Bio

Stanley Moss
Stanley Moss was educated at Trinity College (Connecticut) and Yale University and makes his living as a private art dealer, specializing in Spanish and Italian Old Masters. As a child he visited Europe with his family, and after serving in World War II he taught English in Barcelona and Rome, where he became familiar with the religious and mythical figures that appear in his work. See More By This Poet

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