Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Just made SEVEN appointments to have Cataract Surgery - Poem: Herr Professor or My New Eyeglasses

What's this?

An iron with a Teflon-coated bottom surface. I posted it on FB b/c it was a parting gift when I worked in San Francisco at Cal/Ink.

My friend Da Na Singchai - then Da Na Brooks - asked me what gift I wanted and I chose this iron.

Just ironed a new pair of slacks to wear to a very important event next week.

Martha Hunter from my Writers' Group hemmed them for me.

Drove my friend Rosemary to her hairdresser yesterday. During the wait, I sat in the Fox-Chase Library and got lots of reading done. At one point, I slipped outside in their courtyard to check my sugar.

It was 84. Perfect. Nonetheless I ate half of my delicious Hi Protein Granola Bar.

Tired of sitting so long, I went into the stacks. How I love books!

Much to my joy, I found a Readers' Survey in the front of a book by Patricia Hightower.

Sure enough, someone had rated it. Believe it or not, I've always had this idea. I'll email the pic to Margie, our head librarian.

I remember when our family lived in Englewood Cliffs, NJ, and I went to the library and checked out
a record album by Richard Yardumian.

When I returned it, there was a young girl nearby.

"Great album," I said. She looked at me like I was nuts. Like you weren't supposed to be friendly in the library.

Come to find out that the Armenian, Richard Yardumian (1917-1985), was from the Philadelphia area and became a member of The Lord's New Church of Bryn Athyn, PA, five minutes from my home.

He became its concertmaster.

Listen to the Armenian Symphony here. 

For a few years, his niece was in our support group. Something was terribly wrong with her. Brain damaged, perhaps. We wondered why she stopped coming to the group and found out she had died.

She was 41 when she passed in 2006. Her death is listed in these public files. 

Bifocals are awfully clever.

But the damn things cost $200. I'll wear them only a month and then YOU can have them.

Gotta wear the eyeglasses a whole month. Then my eyesight will be tested. Surgery on Left Eye - where my vision is the worst - will be performed, then go back next day for eye-checks. Three weeks later, the Right.

From June until September I'll be in the hands of Sir Francis Clark. When I was at his office yesterday, my eyes dilated, I couldn't even see what he looked like.

Hi Ruth, I'm Doctor Frank Clark.
Hi Doctor Clark, I'm Doctor Ruth.


I hold them in my hand
my first pair of eyeglasses
since the eleventh grade,
contact lenses cured my

vision at eighteen, hard
plastic the size of a fingernail
curling like a pink petal
atop my Hungarian-hazel
eyes. My word for these wonders:
”My eyes.”

Fifty years later, a dark cloud -
ripening like a peach
on the back of my retina -
demands picking. Right now!

Who me? The lover of the
daffodil, the nuthatch, the
men on my street
and the one surviving backyard
maple, whose seasons I
measure my own by.

The rub: Before the operation
all contact wearers must switch
to eyeglasses. Vision is perfect
with my “eyes.” With eyeglasses?

I trembled as I placed the black
plastic rims in my hands and
studied them. Were I in fourth
grade, the mean girls would
say: “There she goes with
her Coke-bottle glasses.”

Yes, the glass fairly pops out of
the rim. Bulging, with the
pregnancy of sight. I slip them
on, slowly, over my nose. Then
arise from the couch, tipsy, as
the walls close in, like the earthquakes
in Japan. Will I escape?

“Shorty Shortcake,” Roger called me
in fourth grade, but why do I feel
ten feet tall? Just as I did
back in Cleveland every time
my prescription was changed.
How I loved my altered world
back then, my feigned tallness.

Now? How will I drive to the
market today in eyeglasses? Or pick out
the one plastic-coated cucumber meant
just for me? How will I gaze
up at the cold burning moon
and the numberless galaxies
bearing daffodils of their own?

How will I ever find God
in these new plastic eyeglasses
made especially for me?

Or perhaps he has found me!


  1. Enjoyed this poem, as I always do yours. So, surgery on eyes . Wishing you well with it. I happen to love wearing my glasses. Just got new ones-astronomically expensive. If I won the lottery, one of the first things I would do would be to buy a bunch of cool glasses. My new ones are retro-big, red, with black on top. My old ones were much more conservative. Now I am going back to my old style. I don't have to make appearances as the adoption agency director anymore, so can be who I want. Good luck with the eyes!!

  2. Good for you, Iris, going WILD with your eyeglasses. Thanks also for taking the time to read my blogs. Very time-consuming!