"In a Blind Man's Hands" | Poetry Contest | Indy Week

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"In a Blind Man's Hands"

Second Place

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Final Judge's intro
In a Blind Man's Hands

Concise and elegant, "In a Blind Man's Hands" explores the human struggle to witness the magic and meaning of life before it disintegrates like a buoyant, soap bubble bursting on the tip of a finger. "Ain't we all just looking/for that one righteous twist/of God's own kaleidoscope," the central character asks shortly before passing. Replicating the method of a kaleidoscope, the poem offers a succession of symmetrical metaphors on sight and blindness rotating between the metaphysical and material worlds.

On one side, the poem proposes the enchantment of an all-seeing God, able, but not necessarily willing to lend perfect sight. On the other is a simile referencing a blind man who is willing but not at all able to see a precious something as it falls to pieces in his hands.

Connecting the two is the lone query of a dying man, whose name conjures the Greek philosopher known for expressing complex ideas through dramatic dialog, and the clairvoyant from Greek mythology who, having over-seen past his human boundaries, was struck blind to the material world. The poem echoes the question that reverberates throughout the ages, "What does it all mean?" EndBlock

In a Blind Man's Hands
By Jim Muhlig

A dear friend of mine
right before he passed
asked, not at all rhetorically
"Ain't we all just looking
for that one righteous twist
of God's own kaleidoscope?"

It was Plato Tiresias Brown
said it one morning
when it was so cold
your breath froze solid
to the sunlight
and the last few leaves
from the vacant lot
across the road
crumbled like yellowed parchment
in a blind man's hands.

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