Through storm and sun
a stone slab preserves
the impression of
an antediluvian fish
in the Jardin des Plantes.
The naturalist Agassiz
traces the fish's primeval outline
in the darkness beside his bed.
invisible on the fossil in daylight
are easily located by special
lenses beneath his closed eyelids
that the naturalist focuses
only at night, only while dreaming.
Fully awake Agassiz returns to
the Jardin and chisels away
on the slab, soon uncovering
the hidden attributes he saw
his visionary fish possess
now dreamt into the stone.
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Poet's Notes about The Poem
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