Friday, May 22, 2009

Poetry Friday: In Which Barbara Crooker Pens My Ordinary Life

Barbara Crooker writes about the ordinary, the lovely, the amazing, the sublime. In Ordinary Life, she chronicles an extraordinarily ordinary, iridescent day.

My life, too, often feels ordinary and iridescent. It is an "unexpected gift," and I welcome the quiet, for the pearls of a dull, ordinary life are the result of chafing and pain that has been covered over, healed and transformed with beauty.

Last night, one of my daughters asked me to preview a book from the library. The book (which a review site chirped was geared to ages 12 and up) opened with a graphic and ugly scene in which a young girl is allowing herself to be used in the oldest way. The book is "gritty and real" they say. But, my ordinary days are real, too. They happen. They bring joy. The baby, the roasting chicken, the slow, stolen kiss ... these, too, are real. Graphic and ugly things happen in the world; I've been in the thick of them. I know they are real.

But, I have lived gritty and real, and I have lived ordinary. I will take ordinary. Every, single time. I'll take the kind of gritty and real that includes peeling carrots, cleaning up for the seventeenth time after a child you love so much it hurts, and adoring the moment when you see the father of your children walk through the door.

from Ordinary Life

by Barbara Crooker

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,

Read the whole poem here.

The Poetry Friday round up this week is at Susan Writes.


jama said...

What a lovely poem. I'm all for finding the sacred in the ordinary. Love your musings, too. :)

Sarah Reinhard said...

What a lovely poem and an equally lovely reflection! :)

Connie's Daughter said...

Was the book you were previewing by Tamora Pierce? I was recently asked by another homeschool mom about Pierce's books for teens. They didn't seem to me to have much to recommend them.

Andromeda Jazmon said...

This Ordinary Life is one of my fantasies. I realize my actual ordinary life is just as piercingly lovely, but the life in this poem is far enough away from me that is seems a magical fairytale. And I don't even like roast chicken.

Karen Edmisten said...

No, it wasn't Tamora Pierce; it wasn't anyone I'd heard of before.

You know, Andromeda, after I posted this, I thought of an addendum -- of the idea that because I am, here, celebrating this kind of ordinary moment in my life, these kinds of posts can come off as a sort of indictment of very different lives, though that is not what they're meant to be. But, I do really love roast chicken. :)

Melanie Bettinelli said...

Oh Karen, that was so heartbreakingly lovely. I just read it out loud to Dom and Bella and Sophie and choked up a couple of times and had to pause to regain my composure.

Dom says it sounds like a mommy blogger. It does and yet with that magical way the poetry has of distilling the ordinary into an extraordinary vintage, a magical brew. I'm printing this one off to read over and over.

Jeanne said...

Oh my. First time I've been to your blog and you give me this gem. Thank you! The world surely has unexpected treasures...

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