teardrops from a blind eye

Photographer Unknown – edited by B. Jones, Jr.

I’ve been digging through old poems for all of 2014. It’s mostly because M convinced me to share them and see how people respond. But it’s also that poetry is like vined fruit — you can pluck them or watch them wilt, sadly on the vine. Given people’s short available time, I’ve limited posting excerpts of my prose, even though I’m a much better “writer” than I am a poet.

In any case, here is one of my oldest poems, written back in the 80s. I wrote it in response to a photo much like the one above, about the Ethiopian Famine of 1985. So, no, it’s not cheery.

teardrops from a blind eye

winter awoke to the sounds of shrill crying

a child with familiar hunger
mouth searching for a withered breast
spouting mother’s milk long-since soured
and turned to powder
teardrops that stream from a blind eye
form miniature waterfalls
roar over brown cheeks
dash below against the cliffs
of a hungry belly

sounds of a soothing voice
softly speaking words not understood
blind eyes that search the dark air
for sounds and smells of a gray life
and relief from searing white-hot hunger

teardrops that stream from a blind eye
form a soft dim cloud
over a sightless world
condensing like rain over a dark sea
a lone faceless voice
cries from above in matching pain
from a mother’s eyes

that pray for blindness


  1. Dr_IQ says:

    Powerful and disturbing image.

    1. It was an old news photo, the photographer of which I couldn’t find. I enhanced it to focus the attention on the boy’s physique, bloated by starvation.

  2. amysomday says:

    Bill, I have been called a “fake” from my posts on Facebook because people think I am too “cheery” but it seems to be what is streamed to a feel good society, by the “likes” that most people put on happy posts…Seldom do people see the painful posts, stories and poems of my blog…I am happy you write things that are not cheery too 🙂
    In the words of Charlie Baltimore “life is pain, Get used to it,” Well not always.

  3. Mélanie says:

    beyond emotional – both poem and photo… simply heartbreaking! 😦
    * * *
    among all our senses, I do believe our eyesight is THE most important…

    1. I do as well, especially being a photographer who is a visual thinker. I’m not sure how I’d think without my eyesight.

  4. A great and sad and painful photo – reality

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