A Poem by Linda Donaldson
When a sighted person meets a blind person
Inevitable assumptions cloud free exchange.
He who sees, perceives a deficit to overcome.
He who doesn’t see, senses no such barrier.
Without being aware, a sighted person’s speech
Becomes louder, laced with additional narrative.
He feels the need to “paint a picture,”
As if he were compelled to guide his listener.
Blind persons’ other senses are so acute
A sudden change to “explanation” mode
Must be hard to tolerate, even when such
Condescension is clearly unconscious.
Imagine a stranger feeling responsible
For your comprehension of a conversation,
As if you needed his translation
Of even the most basic concepts.
Blind folks must get irritated, being treated
As if their brains were somehow impaired
Instead of their eyes, where lack of “vision”
Doesn’t cripple their thoughts or other senses.
Sighted people may blend in seamlessly
With each other, but their inability to
Communicate with a blind person
Can still signal their own sensory impairment.
Linda Donaldson owned a printing and typesetting business for 27 years, then wrote catalog and web copy for an office and school furniture distributor for eight years. Since retiring, she became a PSBVA volunteer, a member of the Pearl S. Buck Writers Guild, and maintains this blog as its unofficial Recording Secretary. Linda has helped layout, format and design over ten Pearl S. Buck Writing Center Press books in many genres. Linda also sells collectible, out-of-print used books online through Abebooks.com trading as Prints and the Paper.