Friday, July 26, 2013

Inside the Mind's Eye

Looking up at the ceiling of the Bahá'í Centre of Learning, Hobart, Tasmania.
By Jalal Volker (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( 
or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons

My daughter taught me a new skill this week: how to see the reflection of my eye in my own glasses.

As a parent, these are the kind of moments that sustain me.  It is nothing less than awe-inspiring to witness my children becoming unique individuals.  I love that they can see things in entirely new ways, and I'm honored and delighted when they share their new discoveries with me.  So much to learn from them, so little time.

Inside the Mind’s Eye

she said,
“do you see?”
I said.
“I think so.”
“Those little things…”

I strain to see
what my young daughter sees—
her old soul revealed
through a window of truth.
Sunken treasure,
newly discovered.

Off in a dark corner
 of my nearsighted lens,
the creature blinks when I do,
but otherwise
will not be tamed.

“I feel sorry,”
she says,
“for the ones
who can’t see.”
I said,
by an alien gaze.

It’s there.
A mere fraction
of my daughter’s
vivid world;
but there,
a glimmer of hope.

© 2013 Michelle Heidenrich Barnes.  All rights reserved.

Open your eyes to the wonder of Poetry Friday!  Today's roundup is hosted by Sherry, at Semicolon.


  1. Hi, Michelle. I wear glasses and yes! sometimes I catch that reflection of eyelashes moving in the glass. It's a beautiful moment to capture in a poem -- stopping and paying attention to what's right in front of you.

    1. Yes, those zen moments of "being present" are definitely worth treasuring! So glad you stopped by, Laura.

  2. What a special moment to treasure - your daughter's fresh observation that might go unnoticed in our adult daily rush, and also the fact she wanted to you to experience it, too. One of my favorite passages ever is from Wordsworth's Intimations Ode:
    "But trailing clouds of glory, do we come
    From God, who is our home:
    Heaven lies about us in our infancy."

    Thank you for sharing your poem today!

    1. And thank you, Robyn, for stopping by and sharing that wonderful Wordsworth snippet! So inspiring.

  3. Now Grammie & Pop-pop got to share that lovely moment with you both as well -- captured in a poem. Beautiful! And you know what else? Just before I read your poem I was going through my top dresser drawer, which had become a jumble of small "treasures" basically forgotten, and found a few shoebutton eyes, which prompted me to try them for size on an eyeless teddy bear. I told Dad it bothered me that she couldn't see, so I guess we really did share your special moment. I'll be sewing on the teddy's eyes after lunch. Luv you both, Grammie

    1. Glad you could share our special moment... made all the more special with you being there to enjoy it.

      "Basically forgotten treasures"? Those are the best kind! Like your eyeless teddy story, I'm sure each of these forgotten items has a poem or story just waiting to be told. Oh, and thanks for giving that teddy eyes (just in case she doesn't have a mouth either to tell you herself)-- I'm sure she appreciates it immensely.

  4. I tried, & had a bit of it, I think, when I looked up. You took this moment & then made it MORE, Michelle, something I love when I see others do it, & I do try to do it too. Lovely poem to capture you & your daughter at this time.

    1. Thanks Linda. :) Here are my daughter's instructions if you want to have another go: 1) lie on your stomach, propped up on your elbows in a room that's not too bright. 2) face a dark wall or something else that is a dark, more or less solid color... could be a bookcase or even a pillow that you set in front of you, as long as it's dark. 3) Pull your glasses out from your eyes about 1-2 inches; you may have to experiment a bit with the angle. 4) Stare at the inside of your lenses and you should see a magnified reflection of your eye. My theory is that the more nearsighted you are, the easier it is to see. My left eye is more nearsighted than my right, and that's why I think I can only see the image through my left lens. Good luck!

    2. Thanks for the directions; I'll keep trying. I'm only getting a little bit still. It might be that I'm not very nearsighted at all. Fascinating-I'll bring this on my vacation, some wearers of glasses in my family!

  5. Michelle,
    I love how you've captured this moment in poetry and how your daughter found something unique and wonderful to rejoice in wearing glasses. She is a special soul.
    this poem should be in every optometrists' office.

    1. Isn't that the truth, Joy! Back in my day, I was embarrassed to wear my glasses; but now it's so much more commonplace. Plus I'm very lucky to have a daughter with a great attitude, who finds lots of quirky things to rejoice about.

  6. Now you see so many new things, in your glasses, in your daughter, and in your mind's eye. Lovely expression of a special discovery!

    1. Yes, you're right, Margaret-- seeking out new things is something I should really try to do everyday!

  7. What an amazing observation to write about but I think my favorite part is, "I feel sorry for the ones who can't see." What a poignant statement.
    Thanks for sharing this lovely, intimate moment.

  8. I can't see them (yet), but I love knowing they're there!

    1. Don't give up! Yours will probably come out of hiding when you're least expecting it. :)

  9. How fun to capture this moment on the page! "It is nothing less than awe-inspiring to witness my children becoming unique individuals." -- true! My 11yo's sense of humor has been becoming more sophisticated in the past year, and the things she says have been very entertaining. I should probably write about them :-)

    1. Yes, you probably should! Mine are great inspiration for picture book manuscripts too. Off on vacation now... whoopie!