Wooed by His Eyes

Featured image: Lover’s Eyes, ca. 1840, American. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

References to the eyes and sight wend their way throughout my essays. The eyes are “these lovely lamps, these windows of the soul,” as the French poet Guillaume Du Bartas wrote. Like a night walker glancing into lit windows and imagining the lives inside, we can glean the inner state of others from their eyes.

            Both children and adults believe that the self resides in the eyes, not the head. Recent research confirms that the eyes help us to access others’ inner states. Idioms about eyes and sight abound, indicative of the powers we attribute to them. When we’re in agreement with someone, we “see eye-to-eye.” When we’re empathetic, we “see through the eyes” of another. And when we say, “I see,” we mean, “I understand.”

 I was wooed by Dick’s eyes. He stood across the room and turned to greet me. It was love at first sight. The French phrase for this phenomenon is a coup de foudre, a lightning strike—an expression that best describes that feeling’s force. I knew that I’d met my husband. It sounds so naive, so unlike the jaded, mistrustful woman I actually was. But I sensed that I could trust this man; his eyes were so kind.

Anne-Marie Erickson

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