Saturday, April 7, 2018

POEM #7- When vision fails

"Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing." Scout, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

I cannot imagine not being able to read. Two times in my life, however, I have been friends with avid readers who have lost their sight. The first was almost thirty years ago. My father's boss, Elnora, had a good friend (I'm embarrased that I can't remember her name) who was an avid, avid reader. In her late seventies, she was diagnosed with macular degeneration and completely lost her sight. She continued to read through audio books. I had dinner with her and my parents several times a year, and I would always come away with new thinking and new titles. That was before the days when audiobooks were readily available to the general population, and when I moved to New Hampshire, she checked out books for me to listen to along the way.

More recently, I have seen the effects of macular degeneration through my mom's dear friend, Mary.  Mary, who is 93 years old, has always been a voracious reader, but a few years ago, she, too, was diagnosed with macular degeneration, and is now almost completely blind. My mom reads the newspaper to Mary (actually mostly the obituaries, I think) and also helps her order recorded books several times each month. Mary spends hours reading every day.

"When vision fails"

Eyes that have served you well
for ninety-three years are failing
you cannot let go of reading
and so your ears take over
as other eyes
and other voices
carry stories
to your  heart.

(c) Carol Wilcox


Ramona said...

I somehow think these avid readers must still miss the printed page.
but what a blessing
"as other eye
and other voices
carry stories
to your heart."

Linda B said...

I was so nervous to have cataract surgery this year because of that fear, but all went well. We are fortunate to have audio books, though I imagine for your friends, it isn't the same. It's thoughtful to write a poem for them and others, Carol.

Cathy said...

A loss of vision, but still a quest for story.

Mary Lee said...

We had this conversation at lunch just yesterday -- how we designate books we've read with our eyes vs our ears. Thank goodness for audio books, but to never again scan print on a page at my own pace...yikes.

Glenda Funk said...

I'm touched by your commentary as well as the poem. I worry about going blind. My eyesight is pretty bad. I had a colleague--also an English teacher--who lost her sight shortly after retirement. It's heartbreaking to watch a reader go blind. I don't know if your saw the poem I wrote about my father's blindness during SOL18. It's the best poem I've written and what pushed me to join the April challenge.

Elisabeth Ellington said...

"your ears take over as other eyes"--such an image! My mother has macular degeneration but sees an amazing doctor in Denver and has kept her sight since her diagnosis years ago. I worry most about what she would do with her time if she went blind because reading is her life!