Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Through the eyes of a child

She tells me, "You have to try to see it through the eyes of a child." I argue that the child already sees everything through the eyes of a child. It's the adults who demand the aids, the lavish hooks to drag out their long-buried imaginations. My mother-in-law and I have been at odds regarding Disneyworld for years. I simply don't see the point.

The child sees. The real trick, I think, is for adults to do the same — to see the mundane from a 3-foot-high, naive perspective. For this there is no help from — and no need for — Disney, only a child's lead into one's own soul.

It's with a melancholy accompanied by a certain level of discomfort that I realize the most poetic, most "romantic" moments I've experienced in recent years are those shared with my child: strolls through the neighbourhood, ice cream, playing in the park.

She tells me she loves me 100 times a day, that I'm beautiful, that I smell good.

The act of poetry, I think, is entwined in vision and creation. Through Helena's eyes I see things differently, and better. We see grand kingdoms in the clouds and in spider webs. We draw, we make music, we make up words.

This child is a natural stream of consciousness, a surrealist extraordinaire for whom the world is her own cadavre exquis.

One weekend we frolic, in my mother-in-law's backyard pool overlooking the river. My daughter's father stands metres off, feeding his own soul, fishing off the dock.

She wants to swim. It is I who watches over her, plays with her, teaches her, consoles her. My soul is left to feed off her throwaway gestures and words.

Against the background of chlorinated water in a tiled basin. Her eyes are pool blue, we tell her. No, she laughs: "The pool is an eye. Swim in my eye." The pool watching us fathom its own depths.
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