I’ve been rediscovering the pleasures of reading over the shoulder of a feeding baby. Daytime feeds may now involve building train track with my feet, but the last feed of the evening is accompanied by short stories (currently the collection Where the God of Love Hangs Out by Amy Bloom, someone I haven’t read since my teens).
Meanwhile, my bath-time reading habit – a whole hour of reading in late-pregnancy – has now been reduced to a poem. Patti Smith’s slender memoir Woolgathering may not quite be poetry, but each of its fragments is the perfect mood-altering, uber-concentrated shot of words. Try this from the section titled Barndance:
The mind of a child is like a kiss on the forehead – open and disinterested. It turns as the ballerina turns, atop a party cake with frosted tiers, poisonous and sweet.
The child, mystified by the commonplace, moves effortlessly into the strange, until the nakedness frightens, confounds, and he seeks a bit of cover, order. He glimpses, he gleans; piecing together a crazy quilt of truths – wild and wooly ones, hardly bordering on truth at all.
At breakfast I tell the biscuit that the pip pop would be three months old on the 29th, but there is no 29th February, so he must be three months today. She considers this seriously and says thoughtfully, ‘Yes, he’ll have to wait four years to be three months, won’t he?’ And, looking at his lovely three month old self, I almost wish that he did.