The kaleidoscope

By: DS Maolalai

I'm told my eyes are blue

or grey occasionally;

they fleet and change,

flickering static

and channels with weather

and news. in bed beside

some sunday morning

you point a bright finger;

say "these eyes are green now"

or outside you might say

"that's blue".

I look at your dark eyes and my eyes

go to season with colour,

chasing the tones of each other

in circles of children’s

kaleidoscope, varied as some

fairground tat. I am a mood

ring, and you are a hole

under snowfall

with animals hiding in winter,

trembling at blueishgrey skies and deep fur.

you're consistent – it's one of the main things

about you. I don't think

about it; it's there all the time. the way animals

do what animals do. my eyes

flash colour

like a peacock

spangled for summertime,

anxious and strutting

at a hen with his tasteless fan. 

DS Maolalai has been described by one editor as "a cosmopolitan poet" and another as "prolific, bordering on incontinent". His work has nominated twelve times for Best of the Net, eight for the Pushcart Prize and once for the Forward Prize, and has been released in three collections; "Love is Breaking Plates in the Garden" (Encircle Press, 2016), "Sad Havoc Among the Birds" (Turas Press, 2019) and “Noble Rot” (Turas Press, 2022)

Reflective Engagement

  1. Identity and Perception: The poem metaphorically compares the speaker's eyes to a kaleidoscope, suggesting variability and complexity in identity and perception. Reflect on a moment in your life when someone's perception of you changed significantly. How did this impact your understanding of yourself? Consider how the fluidity of identity, like the colors in a kaleidoscope, can both challenge and enrich our self-conception and relationships.
  2. Emotional Landscapes and Relationships: The imagery of changing eye colors, mood rings, and seasonal shifts within the poem reflects the dynamic nature of emotions and relationships. Think about a relationship in your life (romantic, familial, friendship) that has gone through significant changes. How have these transformations affected your emotional landscape? Explore the idea that relationships, like seasons, undergo cycles of change, growth, and renewal, and how these cycles contribute to personal and relational development.
  3. Consistency vs. Change: The poem contrasts the speaker's fluctuating colors with the partner's consistency, likened to "a hole under snowfall with animals hiding in winter." Reflect on your own balance between consistency and change. How do you maintain your core essence amidst life's changes? Contemplate the role of stable elements in your life (beliefs, values, relationships) and how they anchor you, allowing for growth and adaptation in other areas. How does this balance between change and consistency shape your journey towards self-discovery and personal development?

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