The Singers Tale. Eyes. Ageing creatively?

A track & 2 poems on the subject of eyes.

There is no Planet B. This is it.

‘A dream needs a head, a river needs a bed, and a nut needs a shell.’ 

My eyes have seen the glory of the sea, the sky, the birds in the trees and the faces of beloved ones. My eyes have seen the woods and the forests, coasts and mountains, heathland, park and common. My eyes have seen city skylines, spires and steeples, roof tops and domes. My eyes have seen rivers and bridges, viaducts and railway stations. The mighty and the humble. The lofty and the diminutive.

My eyes have seen the faces of my children from Birth and into adulthood.

My eyes have planted into the earth and have watched the miracle of growth.

My eyes have seen great art in the galleries, watched inspiring theatre and dance, witnessed great music.

In my teens I would stand at Bus stops and squint. Peering down or up the road as if I could miraculously conjure up the Bus I wanted. Is the red blur in the distance the 31 or the 8? I have the lines above my nose in between my eyes as testament to those days. Then I started falling, always to my left, as if didn’t see that step, that wall, that lamp post.

‘Ooh, she’s Brahms and Liszt again!’

At the Opticians I was told my left eye was not as good as the right eye.

Why? What is happening with me mince pies?

Sort sighted. My 1st pair of glasses. 1968 aged 24.

In 1986 at the age of 42 I became pregnant. Surprise? Oh well. I love kids.

My eyes became worse, so as a precaution, I made an appointment for optical tests. I was glimpsing shadows on the edges of my eyes. Strange lines were dancing just out of sight. And headaches. I was referred to Moorfields Eye Hospital in London for further tests where I found out that I had a defected optic disc in my left eye. If it had been spotted at birth, they said maybe an op could have helped. As it was, no actual piece of magnified glass would help my left eye. The right eye would be working overtime.

Kasia at 10 minutes old July 25th 1987.

The occasional falls still happened, but I became more careful checking my left hand vision constantly. But I could see. My right eye working for both eyes.

25th April 2018.

As time passed by. Faster ever faster. My eyes were unhappy. Glaucoma, cataracts. Hospital in Canterbury and Operations on both eyes, one at a time. The first visit for tests, I went alone on the Bus. Stupid me. After a morning having my eyes peered at, filled with drops, inspected with magnified and ominous looking space age kit, I wandered down the road towards the bus stop back to the Bus Station. Eyes streaming, seeing the world through a cloudy waterfall. I waited, and waited. Half an hour or more passed and a man walking by, informed me that the post I was standing beside, anxiously peering into the distance, was not a Bus stop. ‘It is a school bus route..’, he said ..’it only comes by twice a day to and from. Back at the Hospital I was directed to a phone on a wall in reception, and called a Cab.

My daughter came down for the Operations. Thank heavens for Daughters.

I was ‘one eyed Lil’ for a year, as each cataract was removed, recovery then the other eye. New glasses were prescribed. All of this procedure may explain that I have occasionally mis read emails and labels, sometimes with laughable responses. One of my most pleasurable pastimes, reading, momentarily ceased to be a part of my life. This year Covid, the Plague struck and I seem to have lost focus for my books. I listen to the radio and love the plays and stories, music and documentaries and the comedy and interviews. ‘Just a minute.’ The radio makes me feel less alone. I miss the feel, the smell and the act of turning the pages. I love my books. One day soon? I will retrieve my focus.

My computer has been a blessing. I work with very large font. Magic. I keep several magnifying glasses around the place for the reading of information too small for me to read.

s k i n s i d e   o u t

 Shssssss  don’t look ……  

Inside out, the skin is inside out.

Outside the skin are other eyes:

see those eyes, see those eyes looking for the inside.

Close the eyes, hide, hide from the eyes, on the outside looking in.

Skin side out, the skin is inside out.

Inside out, the skin is inside out.

Outside is everything, outside is everyone,

outside is too hot, outside is too cold.

Inside lies the unborn, outside is dying.

Skin side out, the skin is inside out.

Outside in, you can impale a heart, break a heart. 

Outside confusion, hullabaloo, out of you, out of mind, and out there.

Inside lie shadows to hide in, inside out.

Outside the skin is out there, let me in, I’m out here.

Skin side out, the skin is inside out.

Outside in, within the walls of skin and bone,

intestines coil and spit sits behind the teeth and lips,  

bile in the spleen squeezes in between the cracks on the scars on the skin.  

Inside it is warm, and red blood pumps life inside, beating, beating. 

Outside in lies the wind, a howl in the ears appearing to pierce the skin- 

drumming the skin, inside in, outside the heat on the street concrete slides. 

Inside through a split in the face, I need ice to freeze the disease.

So, so, so, so, so, so, close the door when you leave.  Skin side out

My eyes on the horizon lines of sea and sky and land.

I never tired of looking at that.

It is never flat. The Earth curves.

Lines move and change with each second of time – constant and yet changing.

Changing light, changing colours, changing perceived distance –

changing with every tick tock of life’s clock – soothing my tired eyes.

I remember why I love the edges.

The sensation of out there, more than me, more than here.

Watching the sea roll and the birds on the wing –

taking that moment to breathe and then sing.

Clouds, any season in winter or spring –

these are a few of my – Oh Yes! … Favourite things.

How lucky am I to have eyes?

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