The Blind Man’s Eyes

The Blind Man's Eyes
by Rita Joe
$17.95, paperback, 140 pp.
Breton Books, 2015

The Blind Man's EyesWhen I Was Small

When I was small
I used to help my father
Coming home from the wood with
a bundle
Of maskwi, snawey, aqmoq,
My father would chip away,
Carving with a crooked knife,
Until a well-made handle appeared,
Ready to be sandpapered
By my brother.

When it was finished
We started another,
Sometimes working through the night
With me holding a lighted shaving
To light their way
When our kerosene lamp ran dry.

Then in the morning
My mother would be happy
That there would be food today
When my father sold our work.

I Lost My Talk

I lost my talk
The talk you took away.
When I was a little girl
At Shubenacadie school.

You snatched it away:
I speak like you
I think like you
I create like you
The scrambled ballad, about my word.

Two ways I talk
Both ways I say,
Your way is more powerful.

So gently I offer my hand and ask,
Let me find my talk
So I can teach you about me.

Learning the Language

Look at the busy rivers
Where water runs over the pebbles
As if to say, “Hello, how are you? I
am gone.”
Or a leaf on a maple tree
“Touch me but don’t hurt.”
You look but move on.
Lay on the grass
Mold your body to it, relaxing,
The spiritual in effect
And look at the sky,
The lazy roll of a cloud passing by
With pictures of dreams your
mind wills
The reward of nature,
Gives you high high.


A light from a kerosene lamp,
The warmth from a wood stove
Very much like shadows from
my childhood
The days long past.

The Blind Man’s Eyes
by Rita Joe
$17.95, paperback, 140 pp.
Breton Books, 2015

Written By

Born in poverty on a Cape Breton reserve, Rita Joe fought for family, justice, and her own independent voice. She faced intolerance, ignorance and abuse—searched her culture for strength—and wrote poems of clarity and encouragement that continue to inspire. A winner of the Order of Canada, Rita Joe writes about her life’s journey, and the promise of hope and healing.

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The Blind Man’s Eyes

The Blind Man's Eyes by Rita Joe $17.95, paperback, 140 pp. Breton...
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