Blind March to London, April 5th – 25th 1920 (‘Social Justice Not Charity’)
That clink must be hobnails. Dawson’s, I reckon. The jingle is coins in a pocket, or keys. And the off- beat k-tunk will be Shaw with his limp and his clogs. But mostly it’s boots. We know all about boots. Every day in the workshop means boot-mending, brush-making, baskets and boredom. ‘When I consider how my light is spent...’ I loved Milton, even before the accident. What’s that, Billy? Yes, London’s bigger than Leeds. Keep it up, lad, only five more days to go. I was quick enough with the Braille until ‘handiwork’ roughened my fingertips. Now every word’s a blur. They say The Blind as though we’re all the same. But I can play a moving picture in my head: the long view from Pen-Y-Ghent, a Red Kite hanging in the sky, my wife’s eyes when she turns to me. Shaw’s world is all passing lights, says he can make them dance with a flick of his hand. Billy here knows only the dark, but when a brass band came to play, he saw spectacular splashes of colour, called them out, sure as could be: Red! Orange! Green! Onto a bridleway now, trickier underfoot. But quieter, too. Hush, Billy, hush! That hu-hu is an owl. Of course I remember: face like a plate, but when it’s airborne it’s all swoop and grace. Woodwind notes. Blue, you say? Well, who could argue? Blue it is.