Improvement by Danusha Laméris

The optometrist says my eyes
are getting better each year.
Soon he’ll have to lower my prescription.
What’s next? The light step I had at six?
All the gray hairs back to brown?
Skin taut as a drum?

My improved eyes and I
walked around town and celebrated.

We took in the letters
of the marquee, the individual leaves
filling out the branches of the sycamore,
an early moon.

So much goes downhill: our joints
wearing out with every mile,
the delicate folds of the eardrum
exhausted from years of listening.
I’m grateful for small victories.

The way the heart still beats time
in the cathedral of the ribs.

And the mind, watching its parade of thoughts
enter and leave, begins to see them
for what they are: jugglers, fire swallowers, acrobats
tossing their batons in the air.

Improvement

I like the light touch Laméris gives to being told her eyesight is improving, going further to imagine other extravagant possibilities – her original-coloured hair, the smooth unwrinkled skin of youth, perhaps the light step I had at six. These fanciful ideas don’t sound to me like a longing to return to younger years, simply a playful imagining.

As she walks about with her newly upgraded eyes, she takes in the individual leaves, a pale moon in the daylight sky, things we might easily miss without this fresh appreciation for what we can see with greater attention. So much goes downhill as she says, and as we all start to notice in time, the cushioning in our joints thinning, our ears exhausted from years of listening. Oh those delicate folds of the eardrum!

Yet, she is grateful for small victories, especially this one: The way the heart still beats time / in the cathedral of the ribs. Isn’t that a magnificent image, our faithfully beating heart in that holy vaulted space! Then she points out how our thoughts, when we begin to notice, are jugglers, fire-swallowers, acrobats. We start to see how they are tricksters, shysters who distract us from what is present in the moment. Perhaps we can all improve our vision by seeing what is right in front of us now.

16 thoughts on “Improvement by Danusha Laméris

  1. Dear Janice, You’ve put into words what I seek everyday – to “improve our vision by seeing what is right in front of us now.” Not only does this impact the art I make, but it grounds me – settling my mind and helping me to live with joy and compassion. Your poem selections and interpretations are beautiful gifts to keep me going!

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  2. Dear Donna, I always appreciate your responses to these poems and thank you for your feedback. It is uplifting to hear how you seek to live your own life – I hope to see some of your art one day, and you too! xoxox

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  3. OOOO….this is a good one Jan!! LOVE how she characterizes our thoughts – easier to “bust” them with this perspective….not that is clearer inner vision :O)

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  4. I love this poem! “…the cathedral of the ribs” – you’re right, such a magnificent image. Thanks, dear Jan for introducing me to this treasure. xoxo

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  5. Hadn’t seen this wonderful piece by one of my absolute favorite poets. As usual, I love it! She was our local poet laureate last year, and it’s always a great pleasure to see her read (& she’s gorgeous and youthful-looking…I don’t recall any grey hairs!). I suggest to anyone reading this to get on the mailing list for her online readings as the stories she tells are often as good as her poems. I love the stanza “My improved eyes and I…” so great! Thank you Jan for another of your beautiful reminders to take in life through a poet’s…um…eyes!

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  6. Thanks Elizabeth, love your pun 🙂 I signed up for the poetry sessions she is doing with James Crews which I just love: Poetry of Resilience: Voices of Nature. She has the most delightful laugh! xoxo

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  7. I just found this blog last week and I am so happy I subscribed. How lovely it was this morning to wake up and read this as I do my morning stretches and hear my own joints pop and my ears buzz. 🙂 Thank you for this lovely gift.

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