"Yes they are, very good. Now would you read them please?" Dr. Locke answered absently, still finishing a few scribbled notes upon his tablet.
Smith's head made a surprised movement, a sort of rotational click, the forehead turning slightly down, the back of the head moving upwards, chin into the throat, he shrugged and recited the first set of verse:
'The Night has a Thousand Eyes'
The night has a thousand eyes,
And the day but one;
Yet the light of the bright world dies With the dying sun.
The mind has a thousand eyes,
And the heart but one:
Yet the light of a whole life dies When love is
-- Francis William
"Fine. And what does it say?"
"I just told you"
"You misunderstand me. You read the words, now tell me what it says please." John Smith's head ducked forward this time, eyebrows arching as his head twisted in a silent question. After a moment of eternal silence Dr. Locke continued, "Mr. Smith, I'm not an eye doctor I'm an "I" doctor. I'm not interested merely in what the letters spell, if I'm going to check your Vision, I need to hear what they mean to you. Now please... tell me what you see it as meaning." he added into the unbroken silent pause "... summarize it for me."
The eyebrows and neck uncocked, Smith's gaze turned slightly inwards then haltingly answered "The night has a bunch of lights, but the most light comes from one sun and losing it would hurt most, uhm...pretty much the same thing for the mind over the heart ... and also heartbreak bites"
"Hmm. umh-huh... ok fine. Next line please"
"But it's the same darn line!"
"It most certainly is not! The print is smaller, which means that you have to look more intently at it. Now please, it's getting late, read the next line and tell me what it means." The doctor punctuated his last words with his pen tapping sharply upon his tablet.
"I told you!" Smith's hands rose up and outwards miming an explosions plume.
"You summarized what it said, now tell me what it means! You must look deeper"
"What do you mean?"
Dr. Lock set his pen upon the tablet and rubbed his eyes a moment, then "The next deeper meaning, of course! Is your depth perception completely gone?! Just look for the deeper meaning in the verse."
"MEANING! Are you deaf as well? M-E-A-N-I-N-G"
"Oh my... The meaning you are able to find within, within it, and yourself. You have to find it - it can mean many different particulars..." and then guessing at his worry, "Don't worry about some 'propper' answer, there can be many different answers, but in their depth their meaning will be the same, there is but One Truth - if you look deep enough for it. Please, try - I'd hate to have to certify you as imaginatively blind."
"Is this covered on my insurance?... oK!" he hastily added, slightly fearful at the sudden forward movement of Dr. Locke towards him. "Hold on a sec eh... um.. oo-okay, ahm... how about this, the night has many distractions, but while the day has only one it gives the most light to see by... and warmth... um random thoughts and interests can keep you occupied, but only love is worth your time, and you'll miss it most when it's gone...a'right?"
"mmm... emahuh... moment, let me just make a not here...I see.... Okay, next please."
"You kidding me?"
"Mr. Smith, I assure you my sense of humor has momentarily fled the building. I am very serious. There are two more verses, you must read each one progressively deeper into the Poem, or I will certify you as utterly lacking in depth perception, and imaginatively blind. That will bar you from the employment you seek. Smaller print, bigger meaning, come on, dig deeper... gonna test your peripheral abstractions here. Please... proceed."
"mmm...err....ulghmph... eh.. ok, uh... Thoughts alone make for a cold heart, especially little ones like stars scattered about the night sky - eh they glitter, but don't warm.... In daylight, you find one light, the little distractions hidden by its brilliance & it gives warmth ... meaning to your life.... if you lose that, um, your life will be... uh... hurt...?"
"I see... ok, better, but you're defintely going to need some corrective lenses here... encouraging though. Ok, next and last line please."
"Oh my, please... that's it for me, what else is there? I don't see anywhere else to go with it, come on...."
Dr. Locke's manner softened, he leaned back against the counter and placed his tablet upon it. "Where else could it go? There are many, many directions it could take you. One would be towards many attractions, trists, versus a commited and true Love. You could also take it in the direction of materialist distractions versus true spirituality, religion. There are avenues of Philosophy, friendship, Love, Passion... there are many journeys this Poem could take you upon within your mind and soul. Unfortunately for you, you were only able to take three, very shallow steps... so I can't certify your depth perceptions as acceptible at this time, however I don't see any signs of lasting damage... I don't see this as a permanent condition - if you're willing to work on it, that is."
Smith slowly collapsed backwards into the chair, but roused slightly at the last.
"I'm going to write you a perscription for some psychical therapy, and medicinal dosages... are you a religous person?"
"The answer isn't particularly important, only that I want to point you in an unfamiliar direction rather than a familiar one... the medication will be more effective this way."
"Well... sort of, lapsed I guess... for awhile."
"I see...", the doctor mumbled scribling his perscription. "Ok, I want you to take the first set of remedies in the morning and evening, in three repetitive courses. One all the way through, then the other and so on, progressively... in as large a time dose as you are able to spare." He leveled a hard stare at Smith, "Find the time..." Smith nodded quickly and he relaxed his gaze. "So the main doses are to be Aristotle's Poetics, followed by Longinus on the Sublime, then Dante to Cangrande: English Version, followed by C.S. Lewis's 'An Experiment in Criticism'. There are many many others that would do, which you can pursue later, but I'd like you to complete these first - I'd prefer you didn't substitute any generic medications until these are completed, understood?"
Smith nodded and gasped.
"Ok, those are the primary medications; now after completing The Poetics, I'd like you to also begin with smaller doses of one Psalm per week, looking at them each to four levels deep, you understand?" Smith nodded again, "do so for four weeks, then Sophocles' Theban plays..." Smith's look went distinctly blank, "Oedipus Rex, Oedipus at Colona and Antigone" he explained while handing the Rx to his patient.
Smith's face was a bit bewildered as he took the paper and looked at it "Why is everything so old? Nothing new will do?"
"I don't recommend modern works on such a week and flattened vision as yours... you need to build up some foundational structure first. As it becomes second nature for you to look for deeper meaning, to savor and enjoy doing so... then you can work up to some Shakespeare, Burke, Addison and if your depth perception is still solid, well... then you can wade through the swamps of modernity and find those few gems that exist."
"Thanks Doc... eh... how long till I can reapply for the position"
"Hard to say Mr. Smith, but as I mentioned, it seems as if your disability may be due to merely a simple case of neglect, your fundamentals don't seem to be damaged, so I'd say your prognosis is quite good. Work through the therapy and prescriptions and see me again in 3 months time, we'll check you out again and go from there."