National Poetry Month
April is National Poetry month and I thought I’d share a poem that has taken on more meaning to me recently. I have always admired Lisel Mueller’s poem, “Money Refuses the Operation” and I found myself thinking about it when I recently hurt my left eye.
I wear contact lenses and I store them at night in a special cleaning chemical that neutralizes and turns into saline solution by morning. In Ecuador, there aren’t the same consumer protection laws and so the bottle of this special solution does not have a big red ring around it like my brand in the United States. Last week I put that solution directly in my eye instead of using saline solution and let me just tell you, it’s not a good idea. Besides being extremely painful, it’s rather difficult to extract a contact lens from your eye when you’re instinct is to clamp your eye shut.
Luckily, Peace Corps has doctors and nurses on stand-by to help in such emergencies. Paul got on the telephone and was able to get instructions for how to treat and later medicate my sore and swollen eye. After resting for several days, my eye is as good as new. However, I was recuperating for several days. As I lay in bed with my eyes covered, I thought a lot about Monet and his refusal.
I walked around without lenses and with only the use of one eye for several days and what I experienced was a different world. Since it gave me headaches, I didn’t spend too much time walking around with just one eye open but I thought it was important to attend the Mujeres Cambia meeting so I did venture out for that.
Outside, colors seemed brighter as details faded. I noticed the outlines of shapes, I noticed sounds more, I noticed the way the sun felt on my back. While I would never wish a mishap like the one I experienced on anyone, I would recommend attempting to interact with the world in a new way. You might find that tuning out the details and imperfections you see may add to the beauty to the world around you.
Monet Refuses the Operation
Lisel Mueller, “Monet Refuses the Operation” from Second Language. Copyright © 1996 by Lisel Mueller.