Canadian Poetry Online top banner link to Canadian Poetry Online home page link to University of Toronto Libraries home page

Poems in Braille

Gwendolyn MacEwen
From:   A Breakfeast for Barbarians. TorontoL The Ryerson Press, 1966


1
all your hands are verbs,
now you touch worlds and feel their names -
thru the thing to the name
not the other way thru (in winter
I am Midas, I name gold)

the chair and table and book
extend from your fingers;
all your movements
command these things back to their
places; a fight against familiarity
makes me resume my distance

2
they knew what it meant,
those egyptian scribes who drew
eyes right into their hieroglyphs,
you read them dispassionate until
the eye stumbles upon itself
blinking back from the papyrus

outside, the articulate wind
annotates this; I read carefully
lest I go blind in both eyes, reading with
that other eye the final hieroglyph

3
the shortest distance between 2 points
on a revolving circumference
is a curved line; O let me follow you,
Wencelas

4
with legs and arms I make alphabets
like in those children's books
where people bend into letters and signs,
yet I do not read the long cabbala of my bones
truthfully; I need only to move to alter the design

5
I name all things in my room
and they rehearse their names,
gather in groups, form tesseracts,
discussing their names among themselves

I will not say the cast is less than the print
I will not say the curve is longer than the line,
I should read all things like braille in this season
with my fingers I should read them
lest I go blind in both eyes reading with
that other eye the final hieroglyph



Gwendolyn MacEwen's works copyright © to the Estate of Gwendolyn MacEwen.
The information provided here is by permission of David MacKinnon, executor for The Estate of Gwendolyn MacEwen.


Canadian Poetry Online bottom banner link to University of Toronto Libraries home page link to Digital Collections home page link to University of Toronto Library catalogue link to Canadian Poetry Online home page link to University of Toronto Libraries home page