Written During a Temporary Blindness in the Year 1799

O what a life is the eye! what a strange and inscrutable essence!
Him, that is utterly blind, nor glimpses the fire that warms him;
Him that never beheld the swelling breast of his mother;
Him that smiled in his gladness as a babe that smiles in its slumber;
Even for him it exists! It moves and stirs in its prison!
Lives with a separate life: and—“Is it a spirit!” he murmurs:
“Sure, it has thoughts of its own, and to see is only a language!”

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on October 21, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.