Two Blind Men
by Bakhtiyar Vahabzade (born 1925)

There's a blind man I know: His eyes are sightless,
But he is not blind.
Though he sometimes gets scorched
in the fire of sorrows,
He does not turn a cold shoulder to his passion
And his mind.
He reads and writes day and night,
In his mind's eye he sees, feels, knows.

Butthere is someone else
Although he is not blind,
Nonetheless, he cannot see,
His bosom friend may die
In front of his eyes-
"I saw nothing," he says.
Whatever is good he claims as his;
He fails to see the bad.
He looks at the clock,
But can't tell what time it is.
Nothing noble
Visits his thoughts and feelings;
Often he denies he saw something,
Though he really has.

A sightless man need not be blind;
Blind is he who does not want to see.
To such an ignorant fool,
Life itself is a grave,
If you ask me.

From "Bakhtiyar Vahabzade. Poems, Short Stories and a Play", edited by Hadi Sultan-Qurraie, and translated by Talat Sait Halman. Indiana University Turkish Studies Publications: Bloomington, Indiana, 1998.

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