This poem came out of the January 8, 2011 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by this picture prompt from xjenavivex, who's doing art exercises, and eseme who mentioned color blindness. It was sponsored by xjenavivex.
The manticore's eyes
are as blank as pearls
but not blind.
They sat empty for hours
while the gods of fire and earth
argued over how to fill them.
It would not do, said the gods of earth,
to leave them colorblind as some men are,
unable to tell yellow from blue, red from green.
The gods of fire grumbled, bristling
at the reminder of those minor mishaps,
and overcompensated in turn.
The manticore's eyes see not only
yellow and blue, red and green,
but infrared, ultraviolet, polarity.
It is this last which does the damage,
polarized light overlapping into godsight
and the subtle perception of the soul.
The manticore's voice
is a thing of great and terrible beauty,
its hunger unending, its poison perilous.
But the awful, blazoned rage of the beast
is fueled entirely by the burning sight of its eyes
and what their vision reveals in the hearts of men.