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The Blind Shall See

"In a dark time, the eye begins to see"
~line 1 of Theodore Roethke's "In a Dark Time" on page 27 of Eight American Poets

The first thing that came to mind when I read this line was the concept of someone being metaphorically blind. While the person can technically see with his/her eyes, he/she can't really see. This line struck me as being so true. In dark times, people do tend to notice more than other times. People truly see what is around them, just like in this poem. The narrator not only describes those things around him that he can see with his eyes, he also describes the different things he can see, or understand, now.

Comments (4)

Alicia Campbell:

Interesting that you thought of being metaphorically blind...that is a great examlple. But upon reading these line, I immediately thought of the mental illnesses that plague these poets. Many of these poets, especially Sylvia Plath, describe things as being dark. Perhaps these bouts of mental disturbance cause them to see things many of us are blind to, and thus are no disturbed by them. If I were to mentally distance myself and really consider the ways of the world, I would probably be disturbed and distraught.

Christopher Dufalla:

I found this poem rather intriguing. As I read over the lines with the word "dark" in them, I found myself wondering what Roethke could possibly mean. You've done a great job in pointing out a meaning with great clarity (and in a very brief passage). It does seem true: times of darkness actually bring light to the truth of matters.

Annamarie Houston :

I completely agree with the mentally blind idea. I also like how you mentioned that the author mentions physical objects that he is able to literally see but also the "understanding" vision. However, I can also see the side of Alyssa with the literal diseased blindness. That is what I personally leaned to because I am a much more "face-value" type of person.

Nikita McClellan:

I find your point of view on these lines quite interesting. I would have never seen it like that. I like Alicia directly thought of Roethke's mental health.
When one is in an episode, he or she may close him or herself off from everyone leaving for a dark and secluded period.
In a psychotic episode, which he would have experienced having schizophrenia, it is an altered state of mind. You are basically blind to the world around you. And you may even lose touch with your on self.
I wrote about this in my blog. The line that states "Which I is I?" This was the main line that made me think that he could be refering to his mental health. If you would like to take a look at my blog here is the link:

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