The Eye-Mote


Blameless as daylight I stood looking

At a field of horses, necks bent, manes blown,

Tails streaming against the green

Backdrop of sycamores. Sun was striking

White chapel pinnacles over the roofs,

Holding the horses, the clouds, the leaves


Steadily rooted though they were all flowing

Away to the left like reeds in a sea

When the splinter flew in and stuck my eye,

Needling it dark. Then I was seeing

A melding of shapes in a hot rain:

Horses warped on the altering green,


Outlandish as double-humped camels or unicorns,

Grazing at the margins of a bad monochrome,

Beasts of oasis, a better time.

Abrading my lid, the small grain burns:

Red cinder around which I myself,

Horses, planets and spires revolve.


Neither tears nor the easing flush

Of eyebaths can unseat the speck:

It sticks, and it has stuck a week.

I wear the present itch for flesh,

Blind to what will be and what was.

I dream that I am Oedipus.


What I want back is what I was

Before the bed, before the knife,

Before the brooch-pin and the salve

Fixed me in this parenthesis;

Horses fluent in the wind,

A place, a time gone out of mind.


Sylvia Plath (1959)