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"Stop that, you'll go blind!"


I’ve been told this before, back
when I was still a little kid.
Back then, staring at the sun brought
bursts of light brighter than white,
all sight obscured for minutes
at a time while the stars
of the Milky Way successively
went supernova.

Closing my eyes changed little as warm
light burned my retinas. The cool
grass on my back failed to quell the heat
while a soft breeze lightly caressed my skin,
raising sensations, making me tingle and squirm.
As my vision gradually returned I would lay still,
satisfied, knowing I had not gone blind,
though I did need glasses by the time I was five.

Now this claim gets made again, but
who can possibly believe I’ll listen?
Do they know what they’re asking me to give up?
It’s like staring at the sun in reverse but better –
seeing clearly at first, calm and relaxed, then
growing hotter and throbbing more insistently
until the warmth of a million suns is upon me,
collapsing to a point of singularity
and bursting forth in a big bang.

These warnings don’t fall on deaf ears,
but I can’t help question their truth.
I didn’t go blind from staring
at the sun, and I only did that once
every few months. Now I risk blindness
at least once a day, sometimes twice
or five times, but still I see clearly,
and I think they have it all wrong.

I could do as they ask, play it
on the safe side, but if I’ve learned
one thing from those warnings it’s that
going blind might be worth it.


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"Stop that, you'll go blind!", by Paul Cales, © September 2004