Musings #51

BELIEVING IS SEEING

after Edgar Rubin’s vase

Try as I might, I see only what I see.

Even shifting my angle of vision, I cannot gain

new perspective, see this your way.

As in the picture, nothing but

a vase – single, centered, symmetrical –

as if what is unseen is

camouflaged, like brown and white pintos

herded near snow-covered stones,

or the black dot on each wing of a butterfly

that mimics a predator’s watchful eyes.

I stare and stare –

even cross my own

hoping the invisible will emerge in the blur.

Each time I look – just a vase

as if the paper is a screen on which my eyes project

what they expect to see,

as if I am surrounded by mirrors reflecting

only what arises from inside.

I keep staring. Suddenly – in a blink of resolve –

positive and negative spaces flip-switch,

the vase shatters, its shards swept away.

What was once form is ground,

and what was ground – form.

What was hidden is found,

and what was is transformed.

I understand only when I understand.

Now identical profiles stare eye to eye,

with nothing to come between us.


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