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.
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,
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
the other’s hand.
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.