Tuesday, 4 March 2014

17th Century Prosthetic Eyeball

Two hemispheres joined at the equator,
an odd and rather gruesome yo-yo,
made perhaps of marble or of soap stone,
designed to nestle in an empty socket.
Creamy yellow, hard and smooth, its maker
must have tried to match its partner, to show
his skill, though the sclera looks like bone
adjacent to the iris.
Leaf-like is this thing of beauty,
the eye itself,
of blue-grey-green the iris made of glass,
the surface is convincing in its richness,
and belies its nature, cold un-living.
It served its purpose well, it did its duty,
looking at the world but never seeing,
so much bounced off, did not pass through it,
it did not judge, nor was it unforgiving.
An encapsulation of a mind and soul,
blind and yet one reads its fixed expression,
implanted there by him who thought to make it,
moved by kindness, sympathy, compassion.

Seeing History: The rise of spectacles in early modern Britain

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