He Had Such Quiet Eyes
He had such quiet eyes
She did not realise
They were two pools of lies
Layered with thinnest ice
To her, those quiet eyes
Were breathing desolate sighs
Imploring her to be nice
And to render him paradise

If only she’d been wise
And had listened to the advice
Never to compromise
With pleasure-seeking guys
She’d be free from “the hows and whys”

Now here’s a bit of advice
Be sure that nice really means nice
Then you’ll never be losing at dice
Though you may lose your heart once or twice

Bibsy Soenharjo-1968

The poem discusses how the eyes of a man can be alluring, seductive and dangerous. The message here is actually an advice for young girls not to be fooled by appearance and that  ‘looks’ can be deceiving. In the first stanza, the quiet eyes ‘were two pools of lies, layered with thinnest ice‘ suggest that the man’s eyes are very profound, calm, peaceful, but very deceiving. Like the thin ice on the surface of a lake, it looks tranquil, peaceful, very calm, alluring and also welcoming, but as soon as you set foot on it, it will break and you will drown in the deep, dangerous freezing water and you will not be able to breathe. As for example, the man may say something like “I love you, and if you love me, prove it!” In the poem, the young lady was deceived.  She was deceived by the look in his eyes, and thus, she feels obligated to be nice to him. She wants to prove that she loves him too. This is definitely the effect that he intended. In being nice to him, she will do anything that he asked, in order to make him happy.
So in the second stanza, after the girl has given the boy her everything, all that remains are questions left unanswered. She is thinking and asking about the hows and whys, “how could you do this to me?”, “how could you leave me after all that I’ve done for you?”, “how could I ever trust you?”, “why did you do this to me?”, “why did you walk away?”, “why is this happening to me?” She is unable to stop wallowing in self pity and blaming herself. It describes how young women are usually too gullible, naïve and easily influenced, especially in matters of love and emotions. Thus, the advice is not to compromise with the wrong man. This is because “the hows and whys” is actually the art of seduction that will entangle the woman in its webs for a long time. The dangerous man with this knowledge will not only destroy a woman dry emotionally, but also physically, financially and then discard her. The man uses her to fulfill his needs and then abandons her.

The last stanza reminds us to ensure that the “Nice” means nice with no underlying intention, truthful and honest. Then you’ll never be losing at dice: love is a risk taken by both side, they take turns throwing the “dice of life” and if the woman is smart, she will be safe in the relationship. Though you may lose your heart once or twice: this is the risk in love, although a broken heart can still be mended, there are things in a girl that once broken it will be forever gone. In other words “be sure that nice really means nice” meaning that if a man is being nice to you, make sure that he does not have any hidden agenda. Do not fall into his trap.

The last line sums it all up beautifully. It is alright to be heartbroken, to lose love once or twice, but there is something in a girl that once she has lost it, she will never get it back.