Poetry Analysis of Third Eye by Bei Dao

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Max Bonetti
Mrs. Onorato
English – World Classics
29th October 2012
Third Eye View
“He Opens Wide a Third Eye…” by Bei Dao in his written work Old Snow, is a narrative of one mans life and his epiphany on society as life and death would influence it. Bei Dao shows a man looking through a “third eye” or “inner eye” view, a very mystical and spiritual way to look at life that only the most enlightened peoples have been able to observe. The poem by Bei Dao starts off by a man opening wide his third eye, showing that finally this man has achieved enlightenment by spiritual guidance or by another catalyst of sorts and shows that he is now disconnected from the “world” and is in his own mind to see what the “world” has to tell him and really offer. In the first lines of the poem Dao states a “star above his head” (Dao 325) as appeared and a man “opens wide a third eye” (Dao 325). The star above the mans head is his third eye, an untypical way to see the world in which he lives, and he sees this light or third eye due to the process in which he opened it. This star can be a warming feeling or it is due to a bright light that he sees in which his spiritual journey as begun. Dao goes on to paint a vivid picture of “warm currents from both east and west” (Dao 325) that “have formed an archway” (Dao 325) these currents show that the man experiencing this spiritual enlightenment has a view of all premonitions of life and his ideals have formed this archway that has emerged. The archway is very symbolic it can be the mans morals to life and the currents from east to west, are morals of the outside world that don’t influence him but now have. Due to this vision the man is now debating on how to view the world there is a fire brewing inside the man, good or evil he cannot choose, he sits there in remorse and now sees a future that he cannot escape. While he contemplates these new morals in which to live he can now see an alternate route an expressway that “passes through the setting sun” (Dao 325) this will lead him to, something, which may be his final destination and resting place. Yet, all these new vision are scary for he doesn’t know where it leads him but at the same time are very intriguing. The road through the setting sun is beautiful, hot, blinding, and spacy – for he doesn’t know if this route will lead him to death, new land or new life, but he starts to connect more with the earth and begins to feel a oneness with his life. This new world will make you die, and the man knows this. There is so much pressure on him to do what is right and to move mountains just as the camel does before it collapses into the setting sun and becomes a skeleton. The camel is a lot like the man, taking a journey through strange passages of mountain peaks by himself to get to new land. But to follow this path in the end will lead to intimate death, not the camel nor the man have any idea of this happening but for a strange reason are happy to travel this path. The camel and the man see this path and gladly take the responsibility to march over it, even when they think they are still moving along they have been dead for so long. So much so that the camel has turned into a skeleton, all flesh has been ripped off its body and turned into energy or other sorts – for scavengers or even the very soil they walked on before knowing. This feeling of a oneness is still apart of the man and camel, for all the energy they have taken from the earth for their lives that has sustained them is now being returned back. Before you die you are apart of the earth and now the earth starts to become a part of them. Turned “into a layer of coal” (Dao 325) the camel is now a usable source of transportation as he was for many a man while he was living – his duties to human kind pass on with him from life to death. All the energy used as a living animal is now being returned as coal. Which shows that the connection to earth is strong and real. This is the end to the...
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