Magazine June 21, 2010, Issue

Grandfather’s Spectacles

(John Sibley/Reuters)

He was not a brawler, or vain,
But came up in a time and class
Where a youth of exceptional beauty
Had to prove himself — man to man –
Time and again. Nearsightedness
Made him half-blind; so at fourteen
He went stumbling to the optician
Who ground him his first pair of spectacles.
Amazed by the view, he walked the streets
’Til dark, taken by leaves, pebbles, and stars,
Then the grin of a bully who demanded:
Drop the “frog-eyes” or he’d die laughing!
And in that fight, the first thing broken
Was the miraculous invention
Of wire and glass that let him see
The world and the cost of clear vision –
Ground to …

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