The man with ears represents a person who is deeply empathetic, but unwilling to open up in the same way as the people he is empathetic towards. The visitors in the poem are said to not have ears, and yet the man with ears and the visitors are able to communicate emotionally. When the man with ears is faced with the very same emotions as his visitors, he does not express them to anyone because he believes that no one else possesses his ability to listen and understand. In the end, his choice leads to his own wallowing demise.

His World Without Ears

He is the only one

With ears

So everyone comes

At some point or another

And he


When they need validation,

Asking if what they are doing is right,

He nods

And offers a face full of encouragement

And when they are enraged

And he sees their zealous light

He flares his nostrils

And jumps up with them, yelling out

When they cry

Shaking and trembling with grief

He holds them

And they rock back and forth together

Then when all the tears are gone

And all the anger is spent,

They hug him and thank him

Smiling and saying they will be back soon

To spend time with him, a beloved friend.

When they leave,

He smiles and waves goodbye

Before closing the door.

Once they have left him,

He turns to the wall

And asks if what he is doing is right

The wall cannot nod;

It is incapable of inspiring confidence.

He trembles in anger

Screaming, red-faced

But the wall just looks blankly back

Expressionless and unshaken

And when he cries,

He can only curl up into a ball and make himself as small as possible

Because when he looks at that wall and sees its vastness and strength,

It makes him feel weak and even smaller.

And when all the tears are gone

And all the anger is spent

He wishes they would return.

Because it is in the silence

That the hole inside him grows and grows and grows

And he wonders

If he will ever meet someone else with ears.