OCULUS

There is little good
you want to say about
Macular Degeneration, less
about geographical atrophy,
nothing it seems you can do
until it crosses that line
and wetness sets in.

But there is one hidden
advantage and that
is the magical power
to make people headless
and cars disappear
on the highway.

All I need do is shut
my left eye and if I am
ten feet or more from you
you will be headless
and as you buzz by me
on the expressway,
closing the left eye
you can disappear forever.

LOST LYRICS

It is strange knowing that your vision
is not what it was, not what you
want it to be, not necessarily yours
in the long run, one eye already
semi-useless for reading and distance.

You adapt, get bigger monitors, a tablet
to read the news, a magnifier
when you need to hold newsprint in hand,
a large screen television (okay, you
wanted that regrdless of your vision).

You realize so many songs you once sung
(badly) will no longer make sense, goodbye
“I Can See for Miles,” and no more Johnny Nash,
“I’m looking through you,” nope, and
“If I still haven’t found what I’m looking for”
U2 will just have to find it for me.

Nansen’s Reason Is Not the Way 無門關 三十四 

If you see the Buddha
you have certainly gone blind,
if you hear his words
you demonstrate your deafness.

Nansen will grow old,
hearing and vision will fade
and he will sit and shout
in a sun warmed rain.

A reflection on Case 34 of the Mumonkan (Gateless Gate) Koans

PANDEMIC

How many today? Fewer
that is a good sign
but don’t get overly excited,
we’ve been down this road
before and we got lost
each time we did.

And while you are out there,
don’t be sure that you
can see where you are going,
for vision is iffy, and like
side view mirrors, things
appear closer than they are.

Don’t be despondent, you
are better off than many,
but better is a comparative
and that can turn to sheer
ice when you least expect it.

So go on, but go carefully,
your next fall might,
just might, kill you.

NO BACKS

As you age, your vision changes,
and not merely that of your eyes,
for you necessarily become
near sighted about many things.

Of course you dread the fact that you
could be myopic if circumstances
conspire against you, barely able
to be IN and remember the moment.

Even those healthy take to mythology,
and astronomy, wishing they were
Titan, living life in retrograde, but no one
has yet managed to become Benjamin Button.

IN THE KINGDOM

We sit in the waiting room,
for we have grown accustomed
to waiting for so many things,
not wanting to rush a life that
appears ever more finite in duration.

We stare at our phones, struggling
to see, to help bide the time, an irony
not lost for we are here because
our vision is problematic or worse.

Erasmus said the one-eyed man
is King in the land of the blind,
and many here hope for that
period of regency before they, too
become common citizens
of a land they hoped never to see.

DEAR ERASMUS, DIE

Today we welcome the rain, hope
that the wheaty winter lawn will
show some other color under its care.

The birds ignore the clouds,
accept the rain, care little how
our lawn looks, their next meal
of always greater importance.

I am losing the vision in one eye,
know I may soon be king
of the country of the blind,
and sadly curse Erasmus
for his gift of proverb, one
that slipped off the tongue
when my eye could still see it.

We will welcome the sun tomorrow
or the day after, for too much
rain or sun demands change
and nothing is really ever
wholly within our control.

PROGRESS?

It is progressing, but that
should not come as a surprise to you,
for they told you it would happen
and you accepted that as a fact.

It is the speed at which it has progressed,
much faster than you imagined,
what was once clear, now vague
ever more amorphous, half already
effectively gone, and the other half?

I imagine what would happen, will
happen when the other begins
the same journey, nothing known
to impede it, and how the four
remaining senses might fill the abyss
that the departure of sight
will leave in its growing shadow.

WINTER

As I stare out the window and watch
the snow slowly build on the limbs
of the now barren crab apple, painting
it with a whiteness that bears heavily,
giving the smaller branches a better
view of the ground in which their
fruit of the summer lies buried.

I am forced to wonder if the tree
continues to watch me, if its vision
is clouded by the snowy blanket
in which it wraps itself this day,
and if it does, what must it think
of someone so sedentary when it,
bearing its winter burden can still
dance gently in the morning wind.