Seen and Unseen


“What do we call visible light? We call it color. But the electromagnetic spectrum runs to zero in one direction and infinity in the other, so really, children, mathematically, all of light is invisible.”

–Anthony Doer, All the Light We Cannot See


Philadelphia Mural Arts


Redshifting and blue,

all the colors, hues

we cannot see, and beyond

our comprehension, or will–

yet, don’t they exist still?

And the man, there on his rags,

sleeping on his clothes in bags–

if we walk by him unseeing

does it mean he’s not a being

worthy of a view, a thought

of what once was? Even if

only a trace of has been–wisps

that linger here–the invisible who

are all the colors, all the hues

and so,

as sunset slow shifts to indigo

and all the in-between,

there, find all the light that’s there

find it, unseen and seen.


This is for my prompt at dVerse, where we’re exploring the invisible. I was inspired by the quotation I used and also by the mural that I just happened to see on Sunday, after I had written and scheduled the prompt. Isn’t it weird how that works?















55 thoughts on “Seen and Unseen

  1. your poem reminds me of that line from the little prince, ‘what is essential is invisible to the eye” (paraphrasing). it takes little effort, once one commits, to see the essential nature of a thing, regardless its exterior. this is my takeaway from your poem.

  2. You caught a wonderful mural that is perfect for this poem. Funny how colors and all its hues remain invisible to our eyes like the homeless on the streets. Thanks for hosting!

  3. This is beyond beautiful! ❤️ I love how you captured that mural in your words. It’s amazing sometimes how we humans can’t see what is right in front of our eyes.. be it beauty, horror or a homeless man sitting around the corner in rags.

  4. if we walk by him unseeing
    does it mean he’s not a being
    worthy of a view

    A great question to ask… Answers not so easily to be had…. for only seeing does not make it so…

    Great prompt and well done on this one!

  5. Vision is a brain function, so in some ways we all “see” differently. I’m always amazed after years of driving the same route, one day I notice/see something I had been completely unaware of. As to the homeless, we do see them, it’s just that some refuse to acknowledge them.

    • Yes, I was just commenting to someone else had we can go by something or someplace a million times and not notice something, and then one day we do. Yes, you are right about the homeless.

  6. Funny, but twice this week I have read about society’s blindness when it comes to the homeless.
    Beautifully done, as per 😉
    And that mural was serendipitous!

  7. There are so so many ways we humans have of looking, but not seeing. We can be so fsmiliar with the big picture of something familiar that we never look deeply enough to see what is there in detail. Or, we don’t want to see or acknowledge something and we cause it to be invisible by subconsciously deeming it so. Human “sight” is an interesting thing, both ohysically and emotionally – as is human “blindness”. There is blindness of the eyes and blindness of the heart. Great post Merril! 🙂

    • Thank you so much for your comment, Rob! I think you’re right. It’s funny, too, and you can walk by something a million times, but never notice it, and then one day you finally do and say, “how long as that been there?” Or “I never noticed that before.”

  8. There are so many things that we physically cannot see without science that it is even more important to see everything else, physically and morally. I love the lines:
    ‘only a trace of has been–wisps
    that linger here–the invisible who
    are all the colors, all the hues’
    a beautiful way to describe the invisible people. And thank you for sharing the mural – it had to be the invisible hand of fate that pointed it out to you, Merril!

  9. This is lovely, and flows gently but relentlessly like your sunset. I’m fascinated that – having not seen yours – I also incorporated seeing/not seeing a homeless person.

  10. “if we walk by him unseeing
    does it mean he’s not a being”
    A very good thought. It reminds of the question about the tree falling in the forest. If no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound? Our society as a whole is terribly egocentric. That is what makes others invisible. We only see what matters to us.

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