Wednesday, March 8, 2017

My Wandering Eye

( eyes in 1970)

Or, I should say, my permanently wandered eye.    In 2003,  I went to the eye doctor for a checkup, and found that I had a Macular Hole in my left eye.  Not the same as Macular Degeneration.  Some injury ( and I thought of two falls on my face that I had sustained the previous three years)  some injury had left scar tissue on the Macula of the Retina of that eye, which had now torn a hole in the retina.

After four unsuccessful surgeries, I was left with no central vision in that eye.  Since the right eye was ok, I could still read and drive, etc.  And I had about 80% of the vision in the left eye... but it was all peripheral vision.

I didn't notice until 2014, when I saw a photo of myself, but that left eye had compensated all by itself by moving the iris over to the side, so it was using the peripheral vision to see, and to help out the good eye.


Consequently, I look cockeyed.   Since then, I hate to have photos taken of myself.

eyes in 1979
eyes in 2002
eyes in 2007
eyes in 2014

In addition to all the facial scars,  this wandered eye makes me look like a veteran of many wars.

I was thinking of a poem by Theodore Roethke, called "Meditations of an Old Woman"

Here's an excerpt from the first part:

How can I rest in the days of my slowness?
I've become a strange piece of flesh,
Nervous and cold, bird-furtive, whiskery,
With a cheek soft as a hound's ear.
What's left is light as a seed;
I need an old crone's knowing.


Often I think of myself as riding
Alone, on a bus through western country.
I sit above the back wheels, where the jolts are hardest,
And we bounce and sway along toward the midnight,
The lights tilting up, skyward, as we come over a little rise,
Then down, as we roll like a boat from a wave-crest.
All journeys, I think, are the same:
The movement is forward, after a few wavers,
And for a while we are all alone,
Busy, obvious with ourselves,
The drunken soldier, the old lady with her peppermints;
And we ride, we ride, taking the curves
Somewhat closer, the trucks coming
Down from behind the last ranges,
Their black shapes breaking past;
And the air claps between us,
Blasting the frosted windows,
And I seem to go backward,
Backward in time:


Two song sparrows, one within a greenhouse,
Shuttling its throat while perched on a wind-vent,
And another, outside, in the bright day,
With a wind from the west and the trees all in motion.
One sang, then the other,
The songs tumbling over and under the glass,
And the men beneath them wheeling in dirt to the cement benches,
The laden wheelbarrows creaking and swaying,
And the up-spring of the plank when a foot left the runway.


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