Saturday, October 01, 2005

My Shoes by Charles Simic

Shoes, secret face of my inner life:
Two gaping toothless mouths,
Two partly decomposed animal skins
Smelling of mice nests.

My brother and sister who died at birth
Continuing their existance in you,
Guiding my life
Toward their incomprehensible innocence.

What use are books to me
When in you it is possible to read
The Gospel of my life on earth
And still beyond, of things to come?

I want to proclaim the religion
I have devised for your perfect humility
And the strange church I am building
With you as the altar.

Ascetic and material, you endure:
Kin to oxen, to Saints, to condemned men,
With your mute patience, forming
The only true likeness to myself.

What first attracted me to this poem was the title My Shoes, because I happen to be a big shoe person. As I read it the person had a different perspective on shoes then I did. He sees them not as something material but as a "likeness" of himself and the "secret face" of his inner life. To me shoes are important but are seen only as the best accessory to any outfit. The auther even went to the extent of personifying the shoes describing them as having "mute patience," "perfect humility," incomprehensible innocence," and "gaping toothless mouths." It makes me wonder why he has this sort of relationship with his shoes. I also hope that there is a certain amount of exageration to the poem when he states he wants to create a religion based on their modesty and use them as a model for the altar. That also leads me to wonder if that part is an exageration then is the rest of the poem as well?


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