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Corneal Graft

Following a recent interview I did for Optometry Today about my eye disease, keratoconus, I thought it would be appropriate to post this poem. The song version is available on the album I made with Willie Campbell (Kevin MacNeil & Willie Campbell are Visible from Space). The poem was first published in a book celebrating the quincentenary of the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh.

Corneal Graft
For all the eye specialists I’ve seen – in varying degrees of haziness – over the years, 
and for the anonymous donor who gifted me his/her vision, in something like the way 
succeeding generations of writers do

My vision’s been where I haven’t. I’m but a go-between.
When my cornea frosted over, I saw an optician (blurred).
A part of me has seen things I have never seen.

My eye lost its glistering green, took on a foggy sheen
Like that of a dreamish moonbeam, oceanly stirred.
My vision’s been where I haven’t. I’m but a go-between.

That whiteness eclipsed my eye when I was thirteen.
Words on pages slurred; even girls turned smudgy, wayward.
A part of me has seen things I have never seen.

Keratoconus, intoned the specialists. The word seemed
Vague as the world around me. Faces looked the same. Absurd.
My vision’s been where I haven’t. I’m but a go-between.

If the cornea’s a tiny jellyfish in the gene
Pool blind fate stirs, then blind luck also occurs.
A part of me has seen things I have never seen.

The doctors grafted while I was drugged and dreamed
- I still do - of the life-before-me my cornea’s conferred.
My eye is like a mind’s eye. I’m but a go-between.
A part of me has seen things I have never seen.
(c) Kevin MacNeil

By Kevin MacNeil

Award-winning poet, novelist, screenwriter and playwright originally from the Outer Hebrides now living in Stirling (Scotland).

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