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Please explain the poem "All But Blind" by Walter De La Mare.The poem is as follows:...

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sidrah | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 26, 2009 at 3:15 PM via web

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Please explain the poem "All But Blind" by Walter De La Mare.

The poem is as follows:

"All but blind

In his  chambered hole

Groped for worms

The four-clawed Mole.

 

All but blind

In the evening sky,

The hooded Bat

Twirls softly by.

 

All but blind

In the burning day

The Barn-Owl blunders

On her way.

 

And blind as are

These three to me,

So, blind to someone

I must be."

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dymatsuoka | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted January 27, 2009 at 12:45 AM (Answer #1)

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In this poem, the writer describes three members of the animal kingdom that are considered to be "blind" by the human world, yet each manages to get by quite well.  De La Mare speaks first about the Mole, who despite its "blindness", sustains itself by eating the worms that it "gropes" for in its "cambered hole".  Although to us it might appear that the Mole is limited in its ability because it cannot "see", in reality, it is perfectly capable of taking care of itself.  What senses it possesses allow it to "see" as clearly as it needs to.

The writer next talks about the Bat, another creature that, from our point of view, seems to be lacking the sense of sight.  Yet even without being able to "see", it is able to navigate flawlessly "in the evening sky", flying freely without difficulty.  The same is true of the Barn Owl.  Like the Mole and the Bat, it does not "see" with its eyes like we do, so we think it is "blind", but it, too, manages to get along quite well.  Indeed, the senses the Mole, Bat, and Barn Owl do have might be even more acute than the gift of sight as we envision it.

De la Mare is saying that "sight" is different things to different people (or creatures in general).  Just as we think the Mole, Bat, and Barn Owl are "blind" because they do not "see" as we do, so others might think we are blind because we do not "see" as do they.  In a metaphorical sense, "sight" is "understanding".  I might think someone else is "blind" because they don't perceive things as I do, but by the same token, my understanding of something might make someone else think that I am the one who is lacking in the ability to "see".

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bocateacher322 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted January 27, 2009 at 12:54 AM (Answer #2)

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In the poem Walter Delamere names three animals (mole, bat, owl) which according to human standards are blind, but see clearly enough in their own ways. It is important to remember that in Delamere's time, the way that bats navigate by ultrasound was still undiscovered: how bats functioned was a complete mystery to the science of the time. Delamere is reminding us that there is more than one way of 'seeing'. Someone may seem 'blind' to us, but they may be clear-sighted enough in a way that we fail to understand.

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sameen | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 27, 2009 at 11:54 PM (Answer #3)

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comment breifly on the poet use of the word blinds. what other words re-inforce our awarness of the blindness of the mole and the owl.

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