Monday, December 05, 2005

poem 12

Going Blind

She sat just like the others at the table.
But on second glance, she seemed to hold her cup
a little differently as she picked it up.
She smiled once. It was almost painful.

And when they finished and it was time to stand
and slowly, as chance selected them, they left
and moved through many rooms (they talked and laughed),
I saw her. She was moving far behind

the others, absorbed, like someone who will soon
have to sing before a large assembly;
upon her eyes, which were radiant with joy,
light played as on the surface of a pool.

She followed slowly, taking a long time,
as though there were some obstacle in the way;
and yet: as though, once it was overcome,
she would be beyond all walking, and would fly.

Rainer Maria Rilke

If it weren't for the title of this poem it would be much more difficult to figure out its meaning. Though there is no mention of actually going blind in the poem itself, the act of going blind leads the reader to understanding that this poem is about an elderly person, who is losing many of her physical abilites as she ages. The poem opens with her at a table, showing her in a social stituation (presumably with her family). Though she is like them for the most part, she holds her cup slightly different, showing that she is froma different time, that she is older then them, and differs in some ways. Later, when everyone is walking through the halls, she is following behind, not able to keep up, but the light in her eyes reminds the reader that though her body may bnot be able to move quickly, she still has a lot of life in her, and is not hendered mentally by her inability to act out physically.

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