Please, Take My Eyes
On my knees.
Then, folded over, beset with desperation and anguish.
My own fists of justice
Beating into the ground,
Of my soul.
Please, take my eyes
So that I may see!
The mist that cloaks me will not pass
My vision blinds me
Take it from me and I shall see.
‘What cloaks you has power
As any garment would over you.
Take the shirt from your back
Discard it, and walk on!
Do you miss the shirt?
It is that simple.
And that hard.
It is not your vision that betrays you!
But your attachment to what you see
You believe this mist
To be a part of you!
The mist –
Will always be before your eyes
You choose what you see.
The world you live in
And that of your sister
Are not the same!
The character here begins on his knees, standing! His self-esteem and mindset are so overwhelmed and chaotic he doesn’t value himself enough to even stand. His bowed and broken body reflects directly his bowed and broken mind. This is him ‘standing’.
Deep down, he believes he knows who he truly is but he can’t get past what he ‘sees’. In modern times this could be the flash car, the big house, the holiday, the life he thinks will invoke envy in others, or enhance his reputation. His vision could even be blurred by a misguided definition of success.
His attachment to what he sees has blinded him – my vision blinds me. He wants to see the truth and believes the physical removal of his eyes is the only way. He begs his God, or the universe (that term still cracks me up) or whatever he believes in to complete this task.
He has used the term cloak so God uses an analogy of a shirt. He tells him he can discard these things from his world at any given moment. He does this with a question – do you miss the shirt? The question does not need answering, as it will invoke a feeling.
How attached are you to your things? Do the things you own exceed who you are in value? Could you live in a humble and simple home and open up opportunities for a fuller and more expressive life? Again, no answer required. Your feelings will tell you how deep your attachments are.
God is careful not to judge. Be attached or not attached. These things, these desires or needs or wishes will always be there. Indulge or not – that is your call. You decide what is right for you. But it may be helpful to allow feelings to be involved in the decision-making process as you contemplate what is ‘you’ and what isn’t ‘you’ in your life.
Having pointed out these things will always be in his line of sight; God tells him he has the power of choice. He will either see these things as self-defining, which equates to his personal value being decided outside of his body, or they will be things that can be there – or not – and either way his personal contentment will remain unharmed.
God finishes by pointing out we all live in a different world, yet in the same world. The difference lies in how we perceive things and the attachments we bring to them.
I could have used brother or sister at the end but I used sister. Not to keep the political-correctness police at bay – I don’t care much for them, or should I say, I’m not attached to them – but to make a very loose reference to the often pragmatic and grounded strength shown by woman later in life when the man in her life struggles with the all-too-common end-of-career-identity-crisis.
The question the poem asks is, ‘How do you define yourself and can this definition sustain a healthy sense of identity for the rest of your life?’ It might be worth remembering careers end – you don’t!
We see this problem with professional athletes almost like clockwork. ‘I am a footballer’ (enter any sport you like actually) and when the sport has disappeared, ‘I am nothing!’
And their actions match this newfound value they have of themselves.
So, how DO you define yourself? And does this definition have an expiry date?