His father’s face showed fright;
child-curious, Louis fatefully
played with sharp workshop awl,
accidentally scratched cornea;
infant internship fully blinded.
“Why this deep dark, daddy?”
his plaintive query stung pride…
did ever-mindful mother berate
that fallible self-accusing father?
cane now guided this blind boy
on country lanes and village paths;
free-spirited his sense of adventure.
Boarding-school then mentored
the imaginative adolescent, inventor;
adopted the cryptic night writing
patterned print adapted, improved.
Morse-code freed the sightless
with a simple six dot sequence,
thick paper awl-pummelled,
embossed by abstract alphabet,
brains baptised, Braille bolstered:
finally all books opened, unsealed.
Blinded in both eyes as a result of an early childhood accident, Braille mastered his disability while still a boy. He excelled in his education and received scholarship to France’s Royal Institute for Blind Youth. While still a student, at the age of fifteen, he began developing a system of tactile code, inspired by the military cryptography of Charles Barbier. “Braille” allowed blind people to read and write quickly and efficiently.