The flowers of youth
losing their grip on splendour
The flowers of youth
losing their grip on splendour
Listen to the wail
of the soul that cannot wake,
day of reckoning.
a void, in life,
in mind, then unprovoked
memories once imagined lost,
Silently he stares
defying his tormentors
wind and ocean in concert
to orchestrate his downfall.
Ratty loved to sit on the grassy bank of the winding river. Relaxing in the warmth of the sun it was hard to stop his little eyes from closing and he could lean back and just lie with his head resting on a grassy hillock. It was not to be for he only came here with one thought in mind. He would stare into the mouth of the tunnel eagerly awaiting the next rush of foam coming out into the light of the day. His nostrils and whiskers would twitch and quiver in anticipation as he heard the iron grill rising and the rush of evil-smelling sewage would come pouring out once more as another mass of rubbish was discharged into the sparkling stream. Every time he would dive into the water and with a merry smile sift through for any delicacies to take home to his little burrow.
Frustrated we both,
relish times of clarity
tears remain hidden.
Rising from the ground
the roaring, giant lantern
lifts into the air.
To escape the icy, dark, raging seas
a lone ship with all her sails lost, flees,
the crew of Her Majesty’s frigate, “Raven,”
in search of a headland, to act as haven.
My thanks to Chris Graham (AKA The Story Reading Ape) https://thestoryreadingapeblog.com, for drawing this article on why much of the internet is inaccessible to blind people to my attention, https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-49694453.
As many of you who follow my blog will know, I lost the majority of my eyesight at 18-months-old. I am unable to read print and use software called Job Access with Speech (JAWS), which converts text into speech and braille enabling me to use a Windows computer or laptop. For anyone interested in finding out about JAWS, please follow this link, https://www.freedomscientific.com/products/software/jaws/.
The article linked to above, details a number of problems faced by blind users of the internet, many of which I have experienced whilst navigating the World Wide Web. For example, the piece explains how blind computer users can be faced with unlabelled links on a webpage meaning that what is heard is next to useless. I have myself been faced with a page where JAWS reads “link, link, link”, meaning that the only way in which I can ascertain what the content of a particular link may be is by clicking on said link. This is, obviously a very tedious undertaking and, in many instances I have given up on the site in question and visited a more accessible alternative.
Turning specifically to sites hosted directly on WordPress (such as my own blog), these are, on the whole accessible. For example all the social media sharing buttons onare labelled so anyone using a screen reader such as JAWS will hear “Twitter, Facebook” etc voiced by JAWS. Likewise the comments form is clearly labelled as such meaning that anyone logged into a WordPress account can easily post a comment.
In contrast I have found that many of the self-hosted WordPress sites are not as accessible as those hosted directly on WordPress. For example I often come across unlabelled sharing buttons on self-hosted sites so the only way in which I can determine what the button in question may be, is by actually clicking on it.
Whilst some comments forms on self-hosted sites are labelled with fields such as “comment”, “your name”, “email address”, others are not. In the latter instance the JAWS (or other screen reader user) is forced to guess what each field is or, more often simply to give up on their intention of posting a comment and navigate away from the site/blog in question.
In my experience the vast majority of bloggers care about their readers and wish to ensure that everyone is able to access their sites equally and enjoy the same ability to participate in discussions. However, unless a blogger is themselves blind (or knows a blind screen reader user), its perfectly possible that they have little (if any idea) as to how blind web users access their site/blog.
The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) has links to useful guidance explaining how webmasters can ensure that their sites are accessible to those with site loss. For anyone who is unsure whether their blog and/or website is accessible, you may find it helpful to visit here, https://www.sightadvicefaq.org.uk/independent-living/accessible-website.
One thousand fireflies
cast shadows in the meadow,
all to no avail,
darkness calls for silence though
crickets chirrup on the breeze.
the magic begins the moment you start being yourself
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