Raising Awareness About Living with Low Vision Through Poetry

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Editor's note: In today's post, Maribel interviews Dave Steele, a visually impaired poet and song writer. We first learned of Dave and his inspiring poetry during Valentine's Day when he shared a poem on retinitis pigmentosa. Learn more about Dave by reading his personal story.

Raising Awareness About Living with Low Vision Through Poetry

Dave Steele holding his book, Stand with Me RP

Did you know that the month of April each year is set aside to celebrate National Poetry Month? It’s a time when poets get to shine a light on their craft through a variety of events with the support of the Academy of American Poets and other poetry organizations. Teachers in schools are also encouraged to explore poetry in its many forms with their students and to appoint a “poet of the day” during the month.

At VisionAware, we welcome a visually impaired poet, Dave Steele, who is creating quite a following with his book, “Stand By Me RP”, as he raises awareness to what it is like to live with vision loss after being sighted. The message in Dave’s poems can help those going through similar issues to feel that they are not alone in what can be an isolating stage of vision loss.

Read Dave Steele's poem, "This Thing They Call RP," to learn about his experience living and coping with vision loss.


"This Thing They Call RP"

A Poem by Dave Steele

I know you've never heard before
of this thing they call RP
So let me help you understand
how it affects people like me
It's always lived inside me from ancestors faulty gene
To untrained eye unnoticed lie
remained for years unseen
Whilst in my early twenties
it began to show first trace
I noticed eyes would struggle
moving from dark to light place
But felt I wasn't ready
so this RP I'd deny
No helping hand stick head in sand
as seeing days pass by
For years I hid it from myself
as wrong as that might be
Till one day it was obvious
that it was hard to see
So off I went to specialist
to take the blindness test
I knew that I would fail them
but that's probably for the best
When doctors diagnosis came
delivered hard and cold
I may be seeing nothing
by the time that I grow old
It hit me like a hammer
when confirmed what we both knew
Chance my children were affected
would be simple 1 in 2
The guilt I felt another tear
as I began to grieve
Yet to the outside world
it's difficult to just believe
My blindness creeping inwards
like a speckled hazy tunnel
My grip on independence vanished
down this darkened funnel.

Began to feel so anxious
every time that I went out
No longer do the simplest things
be filled with fear and doubt
My world was caving in on me
I needed to adjust
I lost some friends and family
I learned just who to trust
I never needed sympathy
Just someone to understand
No need for full time carer
just sometimes a helping hand
I battled for my confidence
I learned to use my cane
I learned to see the best in things
go dancing in the rain
With time my wounds were healing
even though my eyes got worse
Began to write it down for you
through poem song and verse
To fight to raise awareness
for those going blind alone
So through my words our voice be heard
Not isolate at home.

Copyright (c) 2017 Dave Steele

More About Dave Steele, Poet and Songwriter

Visually Impaired Poet and Songwriter, Dave Steele, Is Raising Awareness About Living with Retinitis Pigmentosa

A Poem on Retinitis Pigmentosa to Shine on Valentine's Day

DVD Blind-Sighted: Featuring Dave Steele and his wife discussing how sight loss challenged their family life

Book: Stand By Me RP

Stand By Me RP Facebook Awareness Page


Topics:
Low Vision
Personal Reflections
Reading
Retinitis Pigmentosa
There are currently 4 comments

Re: Raising Awareness About Living with Low Vision Through Poetry



I am sending this on behalf of one of my students:
Dear Mr. Steele,
My name is Paul Schirmer Jr, or PJ, I was introduced to your work by my vision teacher and the impact on me when I read everything was immeadiate I never related to an article about someone dealing with visual impairments on such a level before. Reading some of your poems brought tears to my eyes because I experience some of the same fears and doubts in my mind. I also deal with RP and discovered that I had it at the age of just 11, I was told I would never drive and my confidence went to the dumps. I am now 17 working towards graduating. I also experienced a tragic car accident and recently lost my sister. I have been stressed and dealing with a lot mentally. Seeing how you over came all those things and now you are working hard to make a difference in not only your life but the life of others motivates me to do the same. Thank you for standing up for all of those who couldn’t stand for themselves and may we all stand together one day overcoming this battle.


Re: Raising Awareness About Living with Low Vision Through Poetry



Hi PJ thank you for your amazing comments. It means so much to me to hear about the effect my poetry has on someone like yourself. When I began to share my story I promised myself I would always do anything I could to help those like me who struggle sometimes with sight loss. I've always believed that there is great strength in being able to talk about our weaknesses. Something I will always try and do through my books. Please add me on Facebook or send a message to the Stand By Me RP Facebook page as I'd love to send you a signed copy of my book in the hope that my words continue to help on the days you may need them. Speak soon Dave x


Re: Raising Awareness About Living with Low Vision Through Poetry



Writing poetry stories and essays has always been one of my personal coping mechanisms. I do it as a mental health safety valve. Thank you for sharing your own journey in dealing with vision loss.


Re: Raising Awareness About Living with Low Vision Through Poetry



Hi PJ and Dave, So touching to follow your comments here - standing with you both through our shared strengths and gifts as people overcoming this thing they call blindness. Keep sharing your stories and poems!


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