A good way to spend a minute

I first read ‘Your Blinded Hand’ by Tennessee Williams in The New Yorker six years ago. It’s proven to be unforgettable. It was published 18 days after the arrival of my first-born son, and I read it while still floating, amazed by my joy, which is partly why it has left such an impression, I guess. But regardless, it’s a powerful depiction of our desperate belief that, in the face of disaster and despair, we will not be alone. It both warms and haunts. I thought it should have a place on this blog.

     Suppose that
               everything that greens and grows
     should blacken in one moment, flower and branch.
     I think that I would find your blinded hand.
     Suppose that your cry and mine were lost among numberless cries
          in a city of fire when the earth is afire,
     I must still believe that somehow I would find your blinded hand.
               Through flames everywhere
               consuming earth and air
     I must believe that somehow, if only one moment were offered,
          I would
               find your hand.
     I know as, of course, you know
               the immeasurable wilderness that would exist
               in the moment of fire.
     But I would hear your cry and you’d hear mine and each of us
          would find
               the other’s hand.
                   We know
that
 it might not be so.
                    But for this quiet moment, if only for this moment,
     and against all reason,
               let us believe, and believe in our hearts,
               that somehow it would be so.
               I’d hear your cry, you mine—
                    And each of us would find a blinded hand.

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