Every day except Sundays, Patrick would walk the three blocks from his home to the tram terminus where he would board a tram to take him into the City. In the City he would walk a block and a half to his spot beside the Northern aspect of the City Hall and there he would stand all day, tin cup in hand, begging for a coin or two from passersby. At about five-o-clock he would leave his spot and retrace his steps home. I knew his routine because I had once travelled into the City with him.
Blind PatrickEars straining to detect amidst the familiar comforting sounds Those that warn of danger He walks with cautious confidence born of years of practice White stick, tap tapping
Boarding the tram for the trip into town is a long acquired skill Performed with exaggerated action And the sightless journey is punctuated only by the greetings Of those identified by voice alone
Alight at journey’s end and tap with measured step the distance To his own appointed place There to stand protected by unwritten law that forbids intrusion By another of his kind
A penny in a tin cup rattles to attract those who would make Some small donation And for those passing guilty by looking at some distant point Just a hint of a smile
What visions inhabit his mind? What shape and size and colour Does he apply to city sounds? For never having seen these things do they appear to him As they do to us?
Does he simply accept them for what he has been told they are Giving them no further form Content that they exist as described by some sighted soul Needing nothing more
Is he certain only that today will pass as did yesterday? And as will tomorrow? Content to challenge with unseeing eyes that which he knows not Yet knows so well?
Is each step taken, each day successfully negotiated A singular achievement? Or is he so accustomed to his lot that like us his only fear Is of the unknown?
Seek no answers in his face for his serene countenance Affords no clues Nor do his unseeing eyes yield solutions but prompt instead Further questions
Keep then your secrets Blind Patrick and continue in weather Fair and foul To challenge the sighted world with indomitable courage White stick tap tapping