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© Талант Джолдошбеков, 2009.
© Перевод Philip Metres, 2010.

Филип Метре (Philip Metres)

Louis Braille’s Message to His Descendants

Яркий, самобытный перевод на английский язык поэмы бишкекского поэта Таланта Джолдошбекова "Послание Луи Брайля потомкам", написанной по случаю 200-летия со дня рождения создателя шрифта для слепых.

A poem written to mark the 200 anniversary of the birth of Louis Braille, a great man who created a custom font for the blind and thus gave blind and visually impaired people the ability to read books. This good and strong work, delivering a huge energy boost, was originally written by the author in Braille.


They can, it only appears that they cannot.


If clear day introduced me to the world of people
then night joined me to the world of God.
And though it brought me pain, instilled fear in the soul,
only at night did I learn that the stars sing
that I felt part of nature
and came to know who governs all things.

Vasilii Eroshenko

Most people ... are like the falling leaves.
They’re carried in the air, whirl, but in the end fall to the ground.
Others, however, a few of them, are as the stars;
They move along a certain path,
no wind will make them turn away;
they have their own law and their own way.

Hermann Hesse


Hello, dear friends, greetings, 
Gather in happiness and love.
As an expert in the field of conversing
With intelligent ones

I reach down to you, my descendants,
From a two hundred year height.
I want to relate how divine light
Defeated, at last, our darkness.

When I was a boy I lost my sight
(You know the story already).
My destiny seemed unsightly,
And I fit nowhere in life

Except at the church gate, to suffer
In the circle of cripples and beggars.
But when the hands can serve as eyes
And your humanity is still alive,

Some doors can swing wide
And a clear path awaits—
Though not everyone versed in faith
Can cross the threshold outside.

Inspiration did not enter my head
Without its costs. I made
Many attempts and many errors
Right at the edge of despair,

And I had to shovel and shovel
And I knew lack and cold,
Not a penny for a coarse meal,
Not a penny for old clothes.

And I complained about my fate,
Gave up hope over and over,
Harbored resentment against God
For being born in a bad hour.

The hidden intention of the Creator
Did not avail itself to me yet.
I would have threshed over
Old straw until my earthly end,

If not for young juices in the veins
That refused to let my flesh rot,
And for my vision, persistent and vigilant,
That strove into its own night.

My inquisitive mind paved the way,
Following the dictates of the heart,
And no trauma or anxiety
Could put out the fire.

Even a beast’s rewarded according to his labor.
If, however, a person does not lose
His similarity to his Maker
And will follow Him in all ways,

Then he will live in immortal glory.
There are many of us in heaven
Who work miracles daily
On your beautiful planet.

One day, a bright beam gazed
Into my unseeing eyes, and in my hands
The key of genius was laid
In the form of six points.

I opened the path to their liberation
From ignorance and darkness
To millions deprived of sight
But rich with faith in dreams.

The spirit of this system of Braille—
Raised dots—was so beautiful,
It drew apart age-old walls
To boundless views.

Who today dares question
The blind’s breadth of possibilities?
Look at their holy faces, their bodies:
Are they really less strong

Than others who in full health
Grumble for any reason,
Who cannot be forced to lift themselves
Except with a kick to the bottom?

Meanwhile, any child
Whose little eyes the mist covered
Not thinking about obstacles,
Can spread his wings apart

And fly toward the sun of knowledge,
On pictures of the world, on the soul,
And while flying he’ll pass
All the exams that fate will scrawl.

And while gnawing envy fritters
At the foot of other people's victories,
There, already, you can see,
A composer, musician, a poet,

A lawyer, philosopher and teacher,
A patron, athlete and programmer,
A shepherd, mathematician and confectioner,
Or (why not?) a government minister ...

The many prominent blind—
Their names are still well known.
They stand like giants,
Like pillars of the spirit of education.

Like eternal beacons, flicker
From high spheres into the world of the living—
Tiresias, the wise soothsayer,
And Homer, the singer of wisdom;

Hail Eusebius the Asian,
Nikazy of Mehlin, be that star
That people can lean upon
When their journey takes them far;

Alexandrian theologian Didymus,
Be like a lamp to the people at dusk;
Rudaki, mentor of Persian muses,
Bestow your ecstasy on lovers;

Candle of thought and magician of the pen
Son of Arabia, Macarri,
Take care of all the flawed, illumine
The mind and the heart;

Organists Pauman, Landino,
Inform the people of the voice
Of God, so that their tears will flow
Without restraint, and purify us;

Sanderson, serve as faithful guide
To those who dare to learn;
Duhring, expose the servants
Of deception and the masters of lies;

Aqsaqal Barpy, persecutor of ruin,
Make all the facets of your gift sparkle,
For the edification of new generations
Prolong and widen the quickening tale;

Pilgrim of the universe Eroshenko,
Transform the silence of nights
So that in a poetic crescendo
The music of speech might sound out;

Borges, unparalleled master of words,
Watch ahead for many years
So that everything evil on this earth
Will disappear, with nary a trace;

Blessed Mother Matrona,
Heal with your goodness the diseased
So Mother Earth can rest
From the noise of human groans;

Clear-sighted Vanga, clairvoyant,
Caution (in vain) those who lose their way,
And leafing through the book of fate,
Foretell the Age of Enlightenment.

Shur, Bocelli and Feliciano,
True ambassadors of the good, spill
Hosannas like quick rivers
And cheer the weary soul;

My dear Shearing, my colleague Healey,
Don’t spare your stock of music scores,
And turn chaos into beauty
By a triumph of harmony and style;

My colleague, radiant Charles,
Inspirer of the creative fraternity,
Ray, teach us all to smile,
We need to now and always;

Chosen among the chosen,
Stevie Wonder, soar beyond the clouds
Every single day, so you can
Clothe in song the prose of life;

Choyubekova, my dear sister,
Lark in the sky so blue,
Give back your love many times over
For the universal love of you.

I sent my appeals by name
To more than a few of those—
Who resist the dark night and day
Like interminable stars.

Let those whose faith is weak and hopeless
Move before us into non-existence.
Let the will of providential forces
Be done on earth and heaven.

In this lies the great destiny
Of the conscious “I.”
Allow them no permission, the discrepancies
Of the immutable truths of life.

Therefore, my companions in fortune
No matter how the dark clouds the eyes,
Don’t stop communing
With worldly and spiritual grace.

It does not matter that your star
Has not yet risen in the sky,
Or shines so modestly
It’s noticeable only occasionally.

Remember, when feeling bad,
When your soul’s grimed in mud
You must not bend, not break.
Do not stray from our way.

And when well-deserved laurels
Fall on your prodigious skull,
Don’t let glory go to your head
Inviting a turn of the wheel of fate.

Whether you’re a worker or professor
Or just a lyrical person
Squandering your life, remember,
The greatest vocation is being human.

If a blind man becomes a standout,
Escapes the captivity of failures, it means
He’s become a head above the crowd
Of those who could always see.

You might say, that’s not right—
Aren’t there also misfits?
But I don’t want to spend
Even a quarter of a thought on them,

Let alone a whole line.
Indeed, the Lord will judge them.
Their great unhappiness in life
I have no need to mention.

I’m better off placing my right palm
On some poet’s face.
Let him one day see in his dream
Something especially wise

So that with God’s blessing
And with the desire of the enlightened
He would awaken for revelation
His third eye, if not the second.

Not by chance, dear descendants,
Do I send you this letter with one such poet.
He never fell to the bottom of his wallet
Though he tightened his belt too often,

He never lost his faith,
Having swallowed it all,
And he’s not hanging around the gates
Of the world’s (alas) most powerful.

Since childhood, he was drawn to rhyme
And now he’s prepared
To strain his slate to write some lines
And not work on shoe repair.

Nirvana appears, again and again,
Refining his soul.
Don’t let it escape your attention—
A poet needs readers, after all.

So, his companions in destiny,
Treat your companion in love kindly.
And with that, let me say farewell.
Sincerely Yours, Louis Braille.

October 25, 2009



• Louis Braille (1809-1852) — inventor of the universal, the simplest and most convenient Braille writing system for the blind.
• Tiresias — legendary soothsayer, the character of Greek mythology’s Theban cycle.
• Homer (VIII century BC) — ancient Greek poet-narrator, who is credited with the creation of the Iliad and the Odyssey.
• Didymus of Alexandria (Didymus the blind, 308-395), Eusebius of Asia (268-338), Nikazy of Mehlin — theologians and writers of antiquity.
• Rudaki (850-941) — the founder of classical Persian poetry.
• Abu al-Ala al Macarri (979-1057) — Arab poet and thinker.
• Pauman Conrad (1409-1473) — German organist, composer, teacher.
• Francesco Landino (1325-1397) — Italian organist, composer and singer.
• Nikoldas Sanderson (1682-1739) — English mathematician, professor at Cambridge University.
• Eugene Duhring (1833-1921) — German philosopher and jurist.
• Barpy Alykulu (1884-1949) — Kyrgyzstan's classic poet.
• Vasily Eroshenko (1889-1952) — writer, poet, linguist and traveler.
• Jorge Luis Borges (1889-1986) -Argentine writer, poet and essayist.
• Moscow Matrona (Matrona, 1885-1952) — healer and clairvoyant, sainted in 1999.
• Vanga (Vangelia Pandeva Dimitrova, 1911-1996) — Bulgarian healer and clairvoyant. 
• Diane Shur — American jazz vocalist and pianist.
• Andrea Bocelli — Italian opera singer (tenor).
• Jose Feliciano — American guitar virtuoso and singer.
• George Shearing — English jazz pianist.
• Jeff Healey (1966-2008) — Canadian musician who has developed his own technique of playing the guitar.
• Ray Charles (1930-2004) — American jazz and country singer, pianist and composer.
• Stevie Wonder (Stevland Judkins) — American singer, musician and composer.
• Almashi Choyubekova — modern Kyrgyz poet.


© Talant Joldoshbekov, 2009
© Translate Philip Metres, 2010


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