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I, I, I Analysis

Author: poem of Hayden Carruth Type: poem Views: 5

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First, the self. Then, the observing self.

The self that acts and the self that watches. This

The starting point, the place where the mind begins,

Whether the mind of an individual or

The mind of a species. When I was a boy

I struggled to understand. For if I know

The self that watches, another watching self

Must see the watcher, then another watching that,

Another and another, and where does it end?

So my mother sent me to the barber shop,

My first time, to get my hair "cut for a part"

(Instead of the dutch boy she'd always given me),

As I was instructed to tell the barber. She

Dispatched me on my own because the shop,

Which had a pool table in the back, in that

Small town was the men's club, and no woman

Would venture there. Was it my first excursion

On my own into the world? Perhaps. I sat

In the big chair. The wall behind me held

A huge mirror, and so did the one in front,

So that I saw my own small strange blond head

With its oriental eyes and turned up nose repeated

In ever diminishing images, one behind

Another behind another, and I tried

To peer farther and farther into the succession

To see the farthest one, diminutive in

The shadows. I could not. I sat rigid

And said no word. The fat barber snipped

My hair and blew his brusque breath on my nape

And finally whisked away his sheet, and I

climbed down. I ran from that cave of mirrors

A mile and a half to home, to my own room

Up under the eaves, which was another cave.

It had no mirrors. I no longer needed mirrors.


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