Tiresias – by Patricia Nelson

I am blind and almost still now.
The dark came toward me like a wind,
found me, and grew quiet around me.

Here I speak to the silent, milky dead
who also wander like an eye
and see the dark with fingers.

The glow cast by the living
sometimes blows toward me
like a fold of music.

Young men go by in shapes of heat,
shadows bending on the rock.
Vigor wafting like a cadence.

They think there’s a “no”
to every word that jostles,
every vision with a monster in it.

They haven’t learned to play their fate
with fear and skill—or touch
the music in its randomness.

For them I feel an old man’s love
and hope they never learn to hear
the lovely discord in the light.


Patricia Nelson worked for many years with the “Activist” group of poets in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her most recent book is In the Language of Lost Light, Poetic Matrix Press. She is currently working on a book about literary monsters and seers.