Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.
Does it matter?—losing your sight?
There's such splendid work for the blind;
- The speaker repeats the first words of the poem ("does it matter?"), only this time he asks if losing one's sight matters. Looks like we've got a refrain on our hands, Shmoopers. Stay sharp.
- He again gives a semi-sarcastic response, saying that "there's such splendid work for the blind," so you know, it's NBD if you lose your sight because you can just get a job that doesn't require, um, seeing. And it will be splendid. Yeah, because work is the only thing someone who has lost their vision worries about.
And people will always be kind,
As you sit on the terrace remembering
And turning your face to the light.
- The speaker again tells the soldier that "people will always be kind" while he sits on the "terrace" looking towards the "light" and reminiscing.
- What do you think the soldier might be "remembering"? The war? What he used to be able to see?
- Line 10 packs a major wallop. A blind person can of course turn to face the light—but he can't see it. He can only feel the warmth on his skin. The light will have gone out.
- So, just like in the first stanza, the soldier is missing out on something that other folks can share in—namely, a nice sunbath on the terrace.
- But it's cool, you know, because people are nice to him. So he shouldn't complain. (Or so says our speaker.