African Sight

Women of dignity with regal deportment
wrapped in cloth of pulsating hues
heads and bodies
clashing geometric

senses scream as splashes of color
emerge from smoky haze
billboards peeling in the heat
congratulating the President on his birthday

Women delousing wide eyed children
men squatting together along the road
watching the slow groan of traffic
fingering prayer beads

In the market tables sag
under the weight of muddy angel fish
dead sea rays, piles of snapper
shoes crunching over dried fish scales

Halal butchered beef and goat
hang from rusty hooks
a severed cow’s head
abuzz with feeding flies

as the old and young blind
are lead through the marketplace
sightless teens grasp each other’s shirt
as they dare to cross the dusty road.


Nearly forty million of the people alive today are blind, and almost six times that many are severely visually impaired. The vast majority of blindness occurs in the developing world, particularly Africa, due largely to cataracts, the clouding of the lens within the eye.  Other preventable causes are River Blindness and Trachoma.  While the latter diseases are preventable (clean water is the issue)  there is a growing effort to teach skilled nurses and health practitioners in these countries, non-doctors, to remove cataracts; a relatively simple procedure that takes minutes in the West.  Further information is available at:

I lived on the horn of Africa for two years in my youth.  I have seen the unnecessary blindness.  I was blind for about a month four years ago.  Now I see.


About toritto

I was born during year four of the reign of Emperor Tiberius Claudius on the outskirts of the empire in Brooklyn. I married my high school sweetheart, the girl I took to the prom and we were together for forty years until her passing in 2004. We had four kids together and buried two together. I had a successful career in Corporate America (never got rich but made a living) and traveled the world. I am currently retired in the Tampa Bay metro area and live alone. One of my daughters is close by and one within a morning’s drive. They call their pops everyday. I try to write poetry (not very well), and about family. Occasionally I will try a historical piece relating to politics. :-)
This entry was posted in poetry and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to African Sight

  1. sojourner says:

    Reblogged this on An Outsider's Sojourn II.


  2. Norman Pilon says:

    My heart goes out to those who are blind. Especially the children for whom blindness results in life threatening abandonment. I did not know. People do suffer. And then there are those whom luck favors, whose sight is restored, in part or in whole, by people with the talent, both technical and moral, to make a difference.

    A post that saddens and gladdens at the same time, Frank. I’ll have to see what my budget allows me to do.


  3. Thank you for an important post.


  4. You bring us compelling words and an image that reminds us to be thankful for our sight, and to raise awareness about the blind. Thank you!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.