When he lost his color sight he said the world
was made of metal: gray fruit, gray skin;
black tomatoes; a sky of filthy white.
What greater disaster for an artist?
He thought of swallowing a pile
Of dirty grayish pills; hanging himself
With a coil of rope like shining leaden guts.
But life went on, and art went on. He began
to paint in black and white, ferociously:
sunsets made of glare and stabbing jet,
shapes and gleams, insignias, rising forms
against the infinite gradations of the light.
He took to evenings walks, and nightclubs,
where his sight was better than yours or mine,
catching hints and traces that for us
are flooded by the blare of color, and at last,
when some thought they might have a cure, he said
he could not be bothered. He had work to do.