Winter 2001 • Vol. XXIII No. 1 PoetryJanuary 1, 2001 |

The Cataract

Lately the world seems darker, Especially in the evenings, And I light more lamps To see no better than ever Familiar faces and things:   Wayworn works of art, Books known almost by heart. Is this the cataract, what The Romans used to call A portcullis or waterfall,   Descending to subtract From the sum of my seeing? A fine word for a hateful thing, Though now the doctors say They can lift the veil in a day.   Who takes joy in the word For a blur that steals his light? The power is its own reward And a gift of second sight, This joy to build a tower,   Without fear or self-pity, Of words for the horror That attends the end of light, A castle to stand bright In the ruins of a city.

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Daniel Mark Epstein is a poet and biographer who has published more than twenty books of poetry and nonfiction. His "Sonnets For a Cruel April," provides the text for a short dramatic film with Tyne Daly, Jennifer Van Dyck, and other actors that will be available as a webcast and on Youtube in June 2020

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