Thursday, July 4, 2024

The Wisdom Package

             This week’s post is a poem by Hayden Saunier that I found on the back cover of The Sun magazine. It seems appropriate to our age and to what’s going on in the news.


            The Wisdom Package


I ask the youngish eye doctor why my eyes itch

and burn and why new floaty bits

of paramecium-shaped debris swim


through my view each day, and he tells me

enthusiastically that this comes absolutely free

with the new wisdom package – an honor


I have been awarded. I blink. And, he adds,

the wisdom package comes with lots of other

free stuff too, but just like life, some people


will get more than others. I guess he’s in his thirties,

forties tops, and I am falling in love with him

for his gentle way of reminding me I’m getting old


and that it’s a privilege. I’ve passed

the air-puff test, seen my retinal scans, which look

like the red-orange surface of the sun, each


with its pinprick dot of optic nerve – thin thread

connecting the eye to the dark, ornate theater

of the brain, where the picture shows of our lives play.


I laugh and ask him about knees and knuckles,

liver spots and forgetfulness, and to each complaint

he answers: Wisdom! Wisdom! Wisdom!


We do not know one another’s stories, how many

each of us has lost, the who or how of it,

from war, disease, or fate’s unfairness doling out


more death to some than others. He and I give

each other’s hand a quick squeeze, let go,

and get back to the business of my sight.


He swings a heavy black heart suspended

from a giant arm in front of me,

clicks through pairs of lenses


with the careful ticks of a slowing clock.

I blink and answer him each time: clearer,

better, thank you, yes, much clearer now.


            The poem does not really explain what is meant by “wisdom.” I’m not at all sure what wisdom is, but I am certain that I don’t have it. Unless – that’s what wisdom is . . ..

1 comment:

  1. So, your body has to fall apart to have wisdom? Can you order this wisdom package from Amazon? Oh no. You would have to pay for it, but you would get free shipping.