The eye you see is notAntonio Machado (1875-1939). Spanish Poet
An eye because you see it;
It’s an eye for it sees you.
Have you ever asked yourself how you fundamentally experience the world? How do you perceive that which surrounds you?
Vision, I think, is something we often undervalue. Could you imagine not being able to read these very words, not because of lack of knowledge, but purely physical factors? That is truly terrifying to me.
As such, I have inevitably (for myself, not for others) linked the ability to see and one’s usefulness/purpose in the world. It does seem to me excruciatingly hard to be sightless. It is eye-seeingly (the Bulgarian word for ‘obvious’: очевиден, lit. ‘seeable by the eyes’) possible, but I couldn’t bear the thought for too long.
Glasses are an incredible invention and I must admit I should be much more greatful to their inventor ca. the 13th century. The Early Modern Times possibilitated much more than we can imagine. However, if I have to function (socially or otherwise) without them, I do feel utterly powerless. I express this fear in the following piece:
Weakened, pathetic, helpless I crawl,
As if a defeated fighter from a brawl,
I was searching for mercy, begging for it;
The silence then hurt me, an aching sore hit,
And I desired to indulge in a lacrimatory act, I,
I wanted to cry.
I knew not how to exhibit weakness,
And no one else identified my meekness.
What would become of me
If I couldn’t see?
Useless! Useless hands for writing,
Useless eyes for reading,
Useless mouth for talking,
Useless ears for hearing,
My uselessness is due
To my glasseslessness;
Useless! That is what I fear I might become one day. Or rather, I fear it is what I would be if only the smallest of things happen to go wrong.
The predominating element in the poem is the rather dadaistic coining of the term ‘glasseslessness’. This was a word I used with my friend Milly to fool around a long time ago (originally was ‘glassesnessless’) because of how funny it sounded. Shout-out to the “DIGITAL MEDIA ARTS” gal.
Note the odd usage of German at the end. Perhaps one’s uselessness is also expressed in the inability to speak a language? Read this poem in Spanish and see how (not) knowing a language might affect you. After trying, you may find a translation here.
Exhalo y deploro
que no hago nada aquí
Ni ven ni miran mis ojos
Ni lloran ni se destacan
Do you feel blind yet?
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