Thursday, May 22, 2014

Motherhood in Dots and Strokes

I've been thinking, for no particular reason at all, about the appeal of minimalism: saying much with few words, or evoking a complete image with just a few strokes. It seems like we have a cognitive tendency to connect the dots when just a few slender ideas are suggested: two arcs on paper become koi fish circling in a pond, or perhaps a woman's demure downward glance.

When little is given, perhaps just the essentials, there is a kind of austere mystery that invites a sense of wondering, and even of imaginative co-creation.

In life as well: we connect the dots. Sometimes the resulting constellation is a flash of insight… but in my case, it's usually just a harebrained interpretation that earns me a single raised eyebrow from my husband -- itself a minimalistic gesture that speaks volumes.

Anyway, thinking of minimalism in writing brings me to the genre of Japanese haiku, which is supposed to bring together two contrasting images in a tightly constrained syllabic structure -- like Twitter on a diet.

So here are a few of my own amateur sketches of the reality that fills my mind and heart every day: being a mother to my two girls. I think any mother would agree that it's impossible to sum it up properly in words, even if we could write volumes, precisely because motherhood is made of such an endless number of experiences -- most completely ordinary, but all somehow significant because of the constant undercurrent of love that goes from our hearts to theirs. And sometimes it's those ordinary moments that capture the essence of the experience...

Connect the dots as you will!

***

butterfly effect:
a baby's opened eyes cause
the heart's seismic shift

***

       sparkly silver shoes,
       dirty puddles in the rain:
       opposites attract!

***

peach fuzz, corkscrew curls--
conspiratorial heads:
and so it begins...

***

       curls afloat, laughing,
       she runs baptized in sunlight,
       chasing the pigeons

***

wiping a bottom,
I suddenly feel observed:
bright eyes smile, aware.

***

       sweet ballerina
       swan in a pale pink tutu
       burps like a swamp frog
     
***

sleep's seductive spell
drapes her mind; her fist opens...
I tiptoe away.

Time for the mice to play.

***   ***

walking side by side
you took my hand, smiled at me;
a flame rekindled.




     









2 comments:

Sarah said...

Beautiful!!

Lea Singh said...

Lovely imagery. My favourite is the phrase "baptized in sunlight" - gorgeous and evocative.