To one who’s locked inside a room
And, hearing noises in the street,
Peers through a window eagerly.
Like him, my heart cannot conceive
What’s happening and, mid such noise,
Looks through the eyes to catch a view,
As eyes are windows of the soul
Where hearts pour out in teary dews.
—-Life is a Dream, by Calderon de la Barca
It’s a perfect, insightful bit of poetry all by itself, even without knowing the context in which it was spoken.
And I do encourage anyone reading to read the work for themselves. Penguin Classics has an excellent translation. In terms of its wisdom, accessibility, and easily understood language, I think this is the best reading assignment I’ve gotten in all of freshman year. Each time I read the work, I get something new from it. At the same time it’s pretty straightforward.
Maybe we do look through the eyes of another to gain some sort of understanding of the situation. That could be why when we’re guilty or ashamed, we’re afraid of letting other people meet our eyes. We don’t want them to decipher what’s going on because they might judge us and be disappointed in turn.