Hop, skip and jump to the heartbeat of life

Ruth HartleyArt Process, Creativity, Family, Imagination, Poetry, Songs, Writing Process5 Comments

The Child in the Garden

The child in the garden goes hop, skip and jump and sings to herself.

She dances her world into being.

The garden is dusty, dry sand, withered leaves and sharp-edged stones.

The child draws in the dirt.

The garden is a clearing in a forest, a marketplace of musical insects, a place where snakes wait and creatures watch.

The child weaves sticks and leaves into deities.

The garden is contained by a fence, contrived by another, controlled by a chemist, policed by plastic toys.

The child shuts her eyes and becomes an android warrior.

There is no garden.

Does the child  hop, skip and jump, draw, make, or dream?

Dreaming alone – dreaming in the dark – dreaming at night

The child and the garden grow in secret and on their own, all alone.

The sleeping child doesn’t have the same dreams as her sister, brother, mother or father.

The child, alone and in quietness, discovers that time is elastic and that she is flexible and changing.

The child, alone and quiet, travels to new imaginary worlds.

The child alone makes herself and her future.

The child is the poet, the painter, the dreamer, the genius

Every child is a poet, arranging her world without a teacher, telling stories without writing, singing to herself without words, making art without a paintbrush.

Every child is a dreamer with a creative imagination.

Why is one child selected out as that single genius?

When did all the others give up on their dreaming?

What, in our hearts, do we believe about ourselves who are poets and dreamers?

We are all nomads walking through our lives

We are all nomads walking through our lives to the rhythm of our footsteps and the beat of our hearts. That movement makes us all poets and musicians. We are constructed physically of patterns and symmetries, so we recognise them in our environment. We observe the music of time, the dancing of the spheres  as the sun and stars swing overhead. Our bodies teach us this, our hearts feel it and our brains understand it.  We may remain rooted in the gardens that our mothers made, but we are nomads wandering in space and time as we age.

I loved Bruce Chatwin’s Songlines which has inspired some of my thoughts on this theme.

In the quiet darkness and solitude of the night we write ourselves into being

In the quiet darkness and solitude of night we think ouselves into meaning and find symmetry and significance in our lives. We make order out of chaos and we search for hope. In the morning we get up and write poetry.

We don’t make the bed first or empty the dishwasher. We sit down at a table in the light from a rain-washed window and we scribble and play until the pattern emerges  and the shape takes form and we uncover what we discovered we always knew in the dark when we were alone. Poetry and music, bread and roses are essential for our lives.

Poets who write at midnight and in the morning

Yesterday I went to a poetry reading by Alison Chippindale from her book Mug Without a Handle.

Her poems, written in the night and early morning in simple straightforward language, make meaning from bereavement and loss. They are very moving. It was very useful – as poetry should be.

I invite people who write poetry in whatever way they write and at whatever time they write it to please, tell me about it here in the comments – I would love that!

5 Comments on “Hop, skip and jump to the heartbeat of life”

  1. Tia Azulay

    Hello Ruth,

    Your poem about the child at play, constraints and overcoming them through imagination brought to mind one I wrote ages ago, about play, awareness, regret, and resolve. Re-reading it has jiggled my creativity again; thank you!:

    the chocolate door

    peering back
    through the gobbled hole
    in the chocolate door
    Gretl yearns to be

    where jasmine beckons
    and free leaves pulsate
    with scattered surfeit of air
    blue and clean to the lungs

    draw deep
    handspring across the dappled grass
    while life leaps

    Tia Azulay 07Dec02-08Oct06
    Copyright © 2002, 2006 Tia Azulay

    1. Ruth Hartley

      Thank you so much for sharing your poem, Tia! This is exactly what I hoped might happen with this post of mine. I think it is a real enrichment when we find that we share experiences even when expressed individually and differently

    2. Ruth Hartley

      I’m rather shocked that I haven’t long ago replied to your comment Tia! I love your poem. I had such a clear idea when I made the first drawing of the child in the garden that the child would not distinguish between herself and the garden and I wished I could feel like that myself.

  2. Thobois

    Thanks, Ruth. Once again, very interesting reading!!
    In the meantime, happy writing and drawing to you and greetings to John,


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