My daughter is 9 months old. Everything is new and worthy of exploration for her, and I’m having a blast showing it to her. As I watch her learn the world, I keep thinking of how her actions, and my interactions with her, connect to my being a poet. For example.
- Both invite me to take note of the beautiful world around me. Now I have every good reason to stand for five minutes looking at that beautiful leaf, or the pattern the sun makes on the floor.
- Both require me to think in terms of senses. I can look at an article of food or a household item and think “this has a cool texture!” “look at these bright colors!” I used to do an exercise with my students where they had to describe an item as though they had no idea what it was. Being that we were in a classroom, we got a lot of strange chair and backpack descriptions. Now I can do that daily as I watch her explore every new thing with hands and mouth. It reminds me that everything we look at also has a taste , texture, sound and smell. Today in the grocery store she would routinely drop her favorite giraffe toy in favor of whatever new item I threw in the cart. And who could blame her? Peppermint tea, in its box covered in plastic, with its bright designs—now that’s cool!
- It’s all about discovery. Imagine the first time you ever taste squash or chicken or oatmeal. I get so excited thinking what I’m going to introduce her to next.
- Language is music. Together we make sounds just for the joy of hearing them. What a thrill.
- It’s easier, lately, to work on poems in short spurts than it is to step into my novel—and short spurts are pretty much what I have right now. Happily, it’s possible to jot down lines here and there while playing with blocks.