Live Virtual Group Session: 6pm EST December 7th 2020

Thank you to everyone who joined us for this session!

Our text for this session was the poem “The Courtesy of the Blind” by Wisława Szymborska, posted below.

Our prompt was: “Write about being in the middle.”

More details about this session will be posted soon, so check back!

Participants are warmly encouraged to share what you wrote below (“Leave a Reply”), to keep the conversation going here, bearing in mind that the blog of course is a public space where confidentiality is not assured.

Also, we would love to learn more about your experience of these sessions, so if you’re able, please take the time to fill out a follow-up survey of one to two quick questions!

Please join us for our next session Wednesday, December 9th at 12pm EST, with more times listed on our Live Virtual Group Sessions page.

The Courtesy of the Blind
 by Wisława Szymborska
 The poet reads his lines to the blind.
 He hadn’t guessed that it would be so hard.
 His voice trembles. 
 His hands shake. 
 He senses that every sentence 
 is put to the test of darkness. 
 He must muddle through alone, 
 without colors or lights. 
 A treacherous endeavor
 for his poems’ stars, 
 dawns, rainbows, clouds, their neon lights, their moon, 
 for the fish so silvery thus far beneath the water
 and the hawk so high and quiet in the sky.  

 He reads—since it’s too late to stop now—
 about the boy in a yellow jacket on a green field, 
 red roofs that can be counted in the valley, 
 the restless numbers on soccer players’ shirts, 
 and the naked stranger standing in a half-shut door. 
 He’d like to skip—although it can’t be done—
 all the saints on that cathedral ceiling, 
 the parting wave from a train, 
 the microscope lens, the ring casting a glow, 
 the movie screens, the mirrors, the photo albums. 
 But great is the courtesy of the blind, 
 great is their forbearance, their largesse. 
 They listen, smile, and applaud. 
 One of them even comes up 
 with a book turned upside down 
 asking for an autograph they will never see. 

“The Courtesy of the Blind” 
from MONOLOGUE OF A DOG: New Poems by Wisława Szymborska, 
translated from the Polish by Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh.
English translation copyright © 2006 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

4 thoughts on “Live Virtual Group Session: 6pm EST December 7th 2020

  1. Patricia D.

    I once was the last, that is, the baby of the family.
    22 years later my father had another child, and then another.
    While being the youngest had its advantages, such as fewer rules and later curfews,
    being in the middle was even better!
    Finally, I could be the big sister, rather than the little one.
    And, with all those years between us I actually had some wisdom to offer the second set of kids.
    Happily, all five of us offspring remain close and are grateful to be a family unlike others.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Being in the middle~~~

    I am in the middle between lightness and darkness,
    between joy and sorrow.
    So easy to move from one to the other,
    emotions swaying like the branches on the trees on this windy evening.

    If only a force would stabilize my emotions,
    a celestial force that would bring glorious light to the earth and its inhabitants.
    Filling the hearts of all with giving and love and concern for each other.

    A seesaw of life,
    tipping up and down.
    Where will I end up?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. J.D.

    Can’t move. My arm, my knee.
    Can’t breathe. Stuffy air.
    Seems so long ago,
    Middle seat on the train.
    How did this ever work? Were people smaller back then? Now, you get crushed.
    Like being in the middle of life.
    You’ve gotten this far, done so much,
    Only to long to do more.
    More time = longer list of more to do.
    Surrounded by to-do’s. I am frozen.
    Stuck. Can’t breathe. Air becomes stuffier.
    I have to move, but I can’t find the energy to go.
    Been here too long…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. al3793

    The middle can be a safe place
    if you don’t want to be noticed
    although you could get squeezed from
    both sides when in that position;
    the quarters could get tight.
    Yet, it could be warmer there
    on a cold day another
    advantage perhaps, but
    you could wait longer
    if you want to go first
    from the middle.

    I don’t know. The middle of
    the road seems like a safe place
    so long as you can get out of
    the way of traffic
    when it comes.


    Liked by 1 person

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