“Self and Other”

Self and Other is a poem by Sal Biondello, and it could have many different interpretations. It is a very intriguing piece of work. When I read it, I believe it is about assessing yourself by comparing yourself with others. This is said quite clearly in the opening verse.

“groping for a footing with oneself
assessing the images of others
attempting to find oneself
by explaining the other”

Though the harm in doing this is that we don’t see other people in their entirety from our perspective. We don’t see who they truly are, and “often we ignore the breathing behind the images.” It is this fake mask that people put on, and the poem calls this their “shimmering.” It asks if comparing ourselves to other people, other people’s masks, could really heal our loneliness. Biondello puts to us that this does not heal our loneliness. We are only “allowing another’s vibrations to affect our own shimmering.” In this sense, we put on a mask ourselves when we compare ourselves to other people.

This is a fascinating poem, with an incredibly strong message. It speaks true to me as well. I am someone that costantly puts on a mask to please people rather than to allow others to see me for myself. I believe that the world would be a better place if we all took our masks off, and showed each other who we truly Are.


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