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Wednesday, 1 June 2011

The Child-Artist and the Artist-Child

The way the child
                 sees what he sees
and only later as an adult
                          what he knows
and then forgets forever
                        because he never really understood
                        the way we never really understand
                        a dream
                               what he had seen.

That is the Eden that we've lost
                                the one we teach our children
                                and our childrens' children
                                so quickly how to leave.

All Edens are as fragile as the puff
balls on a dandelion
                    the vision that      we blew away
                                         and laughed to see it go
she loves me... she loves me not... she loves...
Whether she did or not, we soon forgot.

We might have drawings from that time
a doting parent kept.
                     Like colours on old photographs
                     the vision is no more.

The young child draws because he must
he is the only artist in the world
and waits, you see,
                   in a foliage of feeling
for some maturity
                 for language and for logic
                 to open on the stems of seeing.
The moment, when it comes, is fogged.
                  conceals his triumph from his eyes.
He draws comparisons 
                    his drawing and another's.
Nothing now will ever be the same again.


Mary said...

Dave, this is a wonderfully perceptive poem about childhood. I take care of my 3-year-old granddaughter daily, and I love HER view of the world, her fresh enthusiasm and delight in everything.

Nilofer said...

I almost got emotional reading this poem. Awesome. Do visit my blog and leave your footprints by posting comments


David Cranmer said...

Very insightful, David. I loved starting my day with this poem. Thanks.

Corinna said...

I absolutely loved this...felt it. My favorite line is "for language and for logic to open on the stems of seeing."

Hannah Stephenson said...

Why do you think this happened, in evolution? I am interested in the psychology of this, that we can never re-see as children again.

The Weaver of Grass said...

So very true Dave. I do think that often parents erase all thoughts of creativity in drawing from their childrens' minds as they point out what they consider to be 'mistakes'.

Jenny Woolf said...

You can I think recapture some of this by trying to see the world in unfamiliar ways. Try turning your head sideways and you will notice far more than you do when you "know" what you are seeing.

Do you publish any of your poems in a book? I find it hard to reflect on what I read on screen. Perhaps I'm just old fashioned.

Cloudia said...

Thoughtful, Dave!

Aloha from Honolulu

Comfort Spiral




Dave King said...

Yes, I know what you mean, the child's view is so refreshing.

Encouraging. Thanks.

The perfect compliment. Much thanks!

Thank you. It's very pleasing to hear that you liked that line.

I too am intrigued by it, why we can never switch off the later stuff and see in the old way for a bit. I really think the onset of self-consciousness has something to do with it, but there must be more to it than that. It's an intriguing question, and one that has exercised me for a long while now.
Any offers, anyone?

The Weaver of Grass
Very true. And then you have adults, books - and now television - showing us (and them) "how to" draw trees, people, houses, whatever.

It is true that we see more when we look in unfamiliar ways, but I would say that we are still looking in the same way, just concentrating more. I think possibly the closest we get to it is in dream.

I have not so far published poems in book form, but it's a thought...! I must admit I have the same difficulty. Usually print out stuff I want to read with care.

Thanks Cloudia.

Carl said...

You have put to words my thoughts exactly on this subject. It is one I have thought about often. how to capture that freedom and purity of early childhood art.


Regina said...

I found this deep and moving..I really enjoyed this piece, thanks-

lucychili said...

creative abandon
is a treasure

Jim Murdoch said...

I’ve not been reading blogs for a few days, Dave. I found I wasn’t reading the words, just looking at them and so I’ve gone off and worked on other things. Now I have quite a backlog – in your case ten poems – and there is no way I can comment on every one so I thought I would single out the one that I connected with the most which was this one, although I also enjoyed ‘Thoughts from the Forest’ quite a bit. Why these two though? The answer is obvious: their considered structure. This is not to suggest that you haven’t considered the structure of the other poems because I am sure you have but that consideration stands out here, and in this one poem, more than any of the others. A number of your poems could easily be reformatted as prose and lose little or nothing but in these … what shall I call them? … in these ‘open-spaced’ poems the form breathes. Too many of us poets only thing one-dimensionally – up and down – and we really don’t take full advantage of the page width which is our loss.

One of the issues I have had for a very long time is how to read a poem, or more precisely how to indicate how a poem should be read. Musical notation is wonderful: pitch, pace and power – all conveyed through a few squiggles – and yet so many poets eschew even standard punctuation. I think I’m going to have to give this more thought, a lot more thought, but do continue to experiment like this. I’m finding it interesting. I should really take another look at Cummings’ poems.