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Poetry Analysis of Going Blind by Rainer Maria Wilke

I chose the poem Going Blind by Rainer Maria Wilke. Essentially, the poem outlines an observer’s thoughts about a girl at a party who is blind. My initial feeling during the first few lines was pity for the blind girl, as the poem talks about her hesitant smile and how she holds her cup differently than everyone else because she can’t see them.

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She tries to follow along, laughs when cued, is left behind as partygoers start to wander. But then the feeling changes during the last line and another feeling emerges, one of sparked curiosity and a slight shift of perspective.

Leading up to that, the observer viewed the girl almost as weak and incapable, left of out the evenings events. She pitied the vacant stare and the slow movements. But then observer catches a glimpse of something else, a glimmer of deeper existence behind the milky eyes. The focus shifts to less of a judgement towards this unknown girl towards herself and a place of self-awareness. She realizes that everything may not be as her first glance may have suggested.

Going Blind is written in a loose rhyme scheme that contributes to the relatable yet mysterious tone of the poem. The punctuation is not dissimilar to prose, but the sixteen lines in quatrain form are cut off to create the rhyme, which is a, b, b, a. I feel this poem appealed more to the sight, as the description given painted, for me, a clear picture of the room full of people, the way she sat with her tea, how the guests ambled from room to room, the way her eyes looked.

As far as metaphorical phrases go, the blind girl’s eyes were compared to a lit pond, and her demeanor was compared to a nervous performer’s. The theme of Going Blind, from my perspective, is the complexity and the area of unknown within each blank face we see. We can think we have someone figured out, when in reality, there is more than meets the eye, and specifically, there is more to the character of this poem than her disability.