I think, dear Reader, that by now you know that I love quotations. Two recently have kept recurring in my mind. The first is Tennyson’s ’Blow trumpets, the world is white with May’. Pondering this, I couldn’t help thinking that much as I would like to see the ’world... white with May’, it might be difficult at the moment as I have a temporary problem with my eyesight! No matter!
And then the other quotation, this from Matthew in the New Testament, when Jesus said, speaking in a parable ’while seeing, they do not see’. I have so enjoyed working out possible meanings. The obvious one would be that the disciples didn’t literally see. An example was suggested to me: there is a famous Japanese print called ’The Great Wave Off Kanagawa’. The depiction is beautifully clear but the majority of people only notice the wave. If you look closely there are two other elements that you may not have ’seen’: three fishing boats and the famous volcano, Mount Fuji.
A deeper meaning of Jesus’ words might be that ’we see but we do not understand’. A friend tells you of their problems and you just can’t understand why this is a problem; it wouldn’t be for you. A man hears that women feel unfairly treated, but cannot get his head round the problem or the feeling. A bewildered immigrant stands perplexed at the number of forms he or she needs to fill in but the civil servant, not understanding what it feels like to be in a foreign country with foreign customs, laws and languages, just calls ’next please!’