HomeSouthern VoiceLearning to See

Learning to See

by Ronald J. Pelias

I could hardly tell a tulip from a tomato
when I started seeing what had always been
there from my childhood days of weeding
around my grandmother’s roses and covering
my mother’s herbs when a freeze threatened,
from the few indoor plants I received as gifts
that suffered the consequences of my neglect,
to the neighborhood displays I passed without
notice. Now, I take in the pattern of veins
on leaves, the number of petals on a flower,
the consistency of soil that meets my shovel.
I am holding on to names, fixing problems,
spotting my mistakes in this ongoing daily test.


Ronald J. Pelias was born and raised in New Orleans and now lives in Lafayette after years of teaching at Southern Illinois University and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He spent most of his career writing books, including If The Truth Be Told published by Sense/Brill Publications; and The Creative Qualitative Researcher and Lessons on Aging and Dying, both published by Routledge; that call upon the literary as a research strategy. Pelias now writes for the pleasures and frustrations of lingering in bafflement.

Damnatio Memoriae