Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Ordinary Magic

Why aren't there more poems about the mundane: the dishes,
the laundry, the picking up of toys and the making of the lunches
each night before school and work? Where are all the great
epics of housework, the odes to paying bills, the ballads
of the morning commute? Where is that ordinary magic?
I see it each time I bake bread, turn vegetables into soup,
wash grass stains from the knees of size three sweatpants.
But what is the invisible part of my day, that time spent in the
kitchen cleaning, or vacuuming the entire house, that doesn't end up in a poem? Isn't it my job to shed light on the ordinary magic of these things,
this time, my own sweat and work and daily grind: the driving, the
daycare, the job? I'm lost about it. Somehwere in the transformation of
dried, avacado-caked bowl into clean, ready-to-eat cereal bowl, I lose myself,
the very part of my imagination, or creativity, or attentiveness to the Universe, call it soul, call it whatever, call it POETRY! Whatever it is
I just lose my grip of it down the drain, into the garbage, back in the toybox, wherever the stuff and grime of my life needs to go in order to keep order, to keep me from writing poems. Yet I do write them. I find the time, middle of the night, to write it all down and call it a poem. I find the courage to call myself a poet, after working forty hours a week, and roasting chicken dinners to turn into lunches, and shopping, and cleaning, and laundry, and dishes, and vacuuming, and blah blah blah...I find myself writing, I find myself, in the midst of this ordinary magic--it's what I do to stay sane.


KrisUnderwood said...

Writing to stay sane...I've written a good many things on this subject...It has been a prevelent theme throughout my life. Yet another thing I find we have in common...
Great post by the way-why aren't there more mundane poems? I've tried to write a few myself just about the daily grind- and they are just that: mundane. It's as if for a poem to be a fantastic poem, it(event,occasion, situation) has to be remarkable, chaotic, cathartic. Or is that just a Scorpionic thing to say?
I've found most of my poems sparked out of some deeply chaotic, fantastic, fierce emotions: love lust. Just how it was.

Sam said...

Yeah, I think there needs to be a balance. I like how Billy Collins writes about the ordinary, but his perspective is so different from the ordinary times of a mother. Motherhood is chaotic and full of love lust. And, at the same time, mundane. How is this possible?