sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

February 2, 2015

bloggers’ silent poetry reading: barbara crooker
posted by soe 11:58 pm

This weekend marked the ninth annual Bloggers’ (Silent) Poetry Reading in honor of St. Brigid, patron saint of poetry. (I admit to no longer being fully sure of what day it’s supposed to be. We all started on Feb. 2, but it seems to have migrated to the 1st over the years. I am a traditionalist on this issue and always participate on the 2nd.) You can find links to other poems on the festival’s Facebook page.

Ordinary Life
      ~Barbara Crooker

This was a day when nothing happened,
the children went off to school
without a murmur, remembering
their books, lunches, gloves.
All morning, the baby and I built block stacks
in the squares of light on the floor.
And lunch blended into naptime,
I cleaned out kitchen cupboards,
one of those jobs that never gets done,
then sat in a circle of sunlight
and drank ginger tea,
watched the birds at the feeder
jostle over lunch’s little scraps.
A pheasant strutted from the hedgerow,
preened and flashed his jeweled head.
Now a chicken roasts in the pan,
and the children return,
the murmur of their stories dappling the air.
I peel carrots and potatoes without paring my thumb.
We listen together for your wheels on the drive.
Grace before bread.
And at the table, actual conversation,
no bickering or pokes.
And then, the drift into homework.
The baby goes to his cars, drives them
along the sofa’s ridges and hills.
Leaning by the counter, we steal a long slow kiss,
tasting of coffee and cream.
The chicken’s diminished to skin & skeleton,
the moon to a comma, a sliver of white,
but this has been a day of grace
in the dead of winter,
the hard cold knuckle of the year,
a day that unwrapped itself
like an unexpected gift,
and the stars turn on,
order themselves
into the winter night.

This poem reminds me of the final scene in Our Town, when Emily begs to return to earth for just one last time and she finds herself looking in on a morning, which, she realizes, is spectacular in its ordinariness.

It’s rare to be able to appreciate the gift of an uneventful day/afternoon/hour as it’s occurring, but Crooker does it magnificently.

In previous years, I have shared poems by William Stafford, Mary Oliver (twice), Wislawa Szymborska, Stuart Dischell, Jean Esteve, John Frederick Nims, Grace Paley, Heather McHugh, and Barbara Hamby, all of which I stand by as solid choices.

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