By Peter Halstead

From the corner of my myopic eye
comes the center of the sky—

not a telescopic vision,
but the blur of imprecision,

the vapor of a passing cloud
where indecision is allowed,

the endless blue whose depth and range,
on close inspection, doesn’t change,

whose atmospheric core of being
rewards the slightly hard of seeing,

like an ornithologist, whose blind
succeeds by being ill-defined,

or the morning cries of verbal birds
whose meaning comes from hints of words,

like the orange specimen that woke us,
a Monet when out of focus—

a respite from a world whose vice
lies in being too precise,

a pastel universe which passes
when we yawn and put on glasses.


This poem came to me virtually complete upon learning that Monet was myopic and chose not to wear glasses while he painted. It occurred to me that, like the Chinese painters whose seemingly fictitious depictions of Karst mountains were in fact quite realistic, in fact the Impressionists painted exactly what the myopic always see, the world being much more romantic through gauze, or through flaws in the retinal focusing gears.

I wrote it standing up in New York City in about five minutes.

August 4th, 2000