Friday, 16 April 2010

More than love for Henry Moore

I decided, many years ago, that I did not like the sculptures of Henry Moore. I blamed it on a bronzeblob larded with pigeon shit, lumped between a faceless corporate office block and a fume-filled dual carriageway.

Anyway, I was more interested in shoes. I might have had employment that suited tippytappy shoes. I bet I totteredtippytappy past the bronzeblob and put my nose in the air.

I am not the same person now. Thank God. If I met my former self I might enjoy wrestling that vacant wrongheaded idiot to the ground, smacking her round her ignorant chops and dumping her shoes in the canal.

Now I am older, wiser. I have had Alien life forces ripped from my innards. I have learned in ways other than shoes. It feels right then, that I can say, I know what it is to grow knuckle and bone. Now, I want to shug into those giant sculptures. I want to wear them, like skeletons on the outside. Those sculptures are all vertebra, tough gristle, hard sinew, stretched elastic cartilage. They turn my insides to outside, pare them, bleach them, stand them to the wind and rain. They stay there, facing out the world.

So that is how today I see those sculptures by Henry Moore. And I want the children to know them. I want them to see, and feel, their design and elemental expression. Shark, Tiger and Squirrel, I want you to know that it is possible to envisage on a grand scale, to dream, imagine big, and create. Something other than wearing tippytappy shoes.

But something gets in the way, just a little, on our group trip today to experience the Moore sculptures. Yet this, of all places, is the place to come. Not a cold museum, or a corporate face, but an earth place with grass, sky, and birdsong.

Despite this, our guide tells us that the children will not understand, cannot understand, cannot understand do not touch FOLLOW ME.

And while that guide was helpful, and concerned, and worried, and fretful that we might overstay, touch wrong, not look, not be over here, be over there, not come this way, go the wrong way, I think too that my children need to know those sculptures in their own way; as children do. By running around those forms, by feeling their spaces, pressing their hands and bodies and faces to hollows and curves; by being there, close up. Thankfully, we take that time in the afternoon, and do just that.

Girls, do not be like me. I wasted my opportunities. And now all I can do is join the elderly tribes, where I am forced to merely walk slowly around those sculptures.

I have to act like an over sober adult, nod quietly in reverence, be hesitant, respectful. When really, all I would like to do, is run at them, then squish my body up close, inside, under, between.