The Fear of Vacuum Cleaners

for my son

I'm not sure what a "deep fish eye" is, but I enjoy its use; it seems
to add another element to the folklore of the poem. Rachel McGuinness, Age 17

Ah, little one of the deep fish-eye,
little dreamer of the night and the day

It is here that Linda Nemec Foster makes her first reference to sight
with "deep fish-eye." Patty Schlutt, age 14
The way she repeats "the night" in the third line emphasizes
the darkness of what is to follow. Patty
In lines 3 & 4, the child is described as looking to a new world, which is
a recurring undertow in this poem: being born, being reborn. Patty

and the night. You stare at this new
world of air, earth, and light,
wonder at the simplest things.
How a green tendril can sprout
from black ground. The deafening
sound a vacuum cleaner makes.

We first see the vacuum cleaner in fits of deafening sound. Patty

A sound you cannot bear
to hear: terror of the deep wind

The terror of the deep wind" captures what a vacuum cleaner, at its very essence,
is like to a child. Patty

sucking you up into a dark
place that holds no memory.
Legend says the still unborn
can see with closed eyes, possess

It's interesting to think that unborn babies can see with closed eyes. It implies
that they are more aware of their surroundings than one might think. Rachel
The legend of the unborn is a haunting thing that is easily imagined.
It adds a huge twist to the poem, while the poem yet sticks to the subject. Patty

a look of surprise as they
peer from thin sacs covering

I love how the thin sacs cover the babies like shrouds or wedding veils.
It's kind of a contradiction. When I think of shrouds, I think of funerals,
and veils as being of weddings. Rachel

their shrunken bodies like shrouds
or wedding veils. Ah, little one,
when the vacuum cleaner looms
from its black closet-home

Interestingly, the baby is so terrified of vacuum cleaners; perhaps it represents
every person's fear of the unknown.

and you cannot blink your eyes,
do you remember the legend?

The last two lines pull the poem together; the subjects all fit through this line--
seeing, being born, and the frightening beast of a vacuum cleaner. Patty
Through the 3rd Eye was supported in its inception by the Grand Rapids Humanities Council and is currently made possible by continued volunteer effort and private support. Copyright 2013.