He Had a Good Year

Bell, Marvin

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Annotated by:
Coulehan, Jack
  • Date of entry: Jun-26-1995


The poem describes the visual sensations of a person's "good year" as he is going blind. "Autumnal light / gave to ordinary things the turning / beauty of leaves . . . . " Normal colors became spectacular in their new manifestations and meanings. He was able "to look inside the top glow of each object" and discern its "inner texture." Even God might have such visions as these, if he "were only half the man he is."


On one level this poem might deal with physiology and anatomy--the strange visual phenomena that a person going blind might experience (e.g. cataracts). At another level the poem is concerned with inner vision or enlightenment. In that respect it is reminiscent of Jack Coulehan's poem The Dust of the West (see this database), in which "my blind father" sees, by means of an inner light, that "the smallest piece of dust / has an interior, a soul . . . ."

Primary Source

Iris of Creation


Copper Canyon

Place Published

Port Townsend, Wash.