You thought my heart too far diseased;
You wonder when my fancies play
To find me gay among the gay,
Like one with any trifle pleased.
The shade by which my life was crost,
Which makes a desert in the mind,
Has made me kindly with my kind,
And like to him whose sight is lost;
Whose feet are guided thro’ the land,
Whose jest among his friends is free,
Who takes the children on his knee,
And winds their curls about his hand:
He plays with threads, he beats his chair
For pastime, dreaming of the sky;
His inner day can never die,
His night of loss is always there.
This is another metaphor of Tennyson’s bereaved self which emphasises the pathos of his bright normality hiding his inner anguish. The statement that his loss makes him “kindly with his kind” points to an effect of bereavement which I can verify: As a not very kindly person I can testify to some improvement. Why do bereaved people become kindlier? Because they are hurt, which makes them more sensitive to others’ pain.
“Dreaming of the sky” is an effective phrase to indicate the double world of the blind man and of the poet.