To See or Not To See: A Meditation on the Year 2020
The visual acuity Snellen chart
is a typographical work of art,
a column of capitals crowned with an E
normal eyes can see at 200 feet.
If you can read line 8 in an exam,
D E F P O T E C, you pass.
This year for 366 days,
the first time ever, everyone who sees
has 2020 vision 24/7
without the aid of a chart or Snellen.
As Oedipus discovers, his demise:
the truth is invisible to the eyes.
King Lear divides his realm for flatterers,
rejects the wrong one of his three daughters.
The Duke of Gloucester’s eyes gouged out on stage:
a metaphor for our electronic age.
A smart phone’s become a hand prosthesis;
the screen, a bright bauble, does hypnosis.
Charts measure the acuity of eyes,
but can’t tell us what is true and what lies.
Gary Garrison is a McCauley resident and the former Chair of the Board of _Boyle McCauley News. This poem was written in January to kick off a project he calls “Twenties Aplenty: the 20/2020 Trifecta”, which Gary explains, “basically plays with the fact that every month this year we have a date that includes three 20s. Like today, 2/20/2020. I simply couldn’t resist working up some poetry based on all those 20s.”_