“the patience of ordinary things” by pat schneider

“Mountain Blues” by Karen Hollingsworth (2013)

 

THE PATIENCE OF ORDINARY THINGS
by Pat Schneider

It is a kind of love, is it not?
How the cup holds the tea,
How the chair stands sturdy and foursquare,
How the floor receives the bottoms of shoes
Or toes. How soles of feet know
Where they’re supposed to be.
I’ve been thinking about the patience
Of ordinary things, how clothes
Wait respectfully in closets
And soap dries quietly in the dish,
And towels drink the wet
From the skin of the back.
And the lovely repetition of stairs.
And what is more generous than a window?

~ from Another River: New and Selected Poems (Amherst Writers & Artists Press, 2005)

“Connected” by Karen Hollingsworth (2010)

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And is it not a kind of love how a poem can hold the words you most need to hear? Vessel of heart, unadorned yet profound, luminous in its simplicity, Schneider’s poem speaks to the sacred in the everyday and is a beautiful paean to patience and gratitude.

If you’re a writer, you know all about waiting. And waiting. And waiting. Every step in the process has a distinct purpose and unfolds in its own time. Every story or poem waits its turn for someone to give it form, shape, and resonance. Just as I appreciate the cup that holds my tea, I marvel at how ideas know how to find just the right people, and how the hundreds of books on my shelves silently wait for me to reach for them. I am most grateful for the patience of stories waiting to be told, and smile at the thought of how happy characters must be when we finally open their books and let them speak.

“Reading Woman by the Open Window” by Asta Norregaard (1889)

This poem gives me an inner sense of calm, making me feel centered and grounded. The outside world is chaotic and full of upheaval and uncertainty. It is good to know there are things we can count on, and that no matter what happens, there is art, the power of the imagination, unique voices and vision. One person’s poem can be another’s prayer.

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A renowned teacher of writing, Pat Schneider is the author of ten works of poetry and nonfiction, including Writing Alone and With Others. Founder of Amherst Writers & Artists, she travels frequently to teach and has been leading workshops in creative writing at the Pacific School of Religion for almost thirty years. Garrison Keillor has read her poems sixteen times on “Writers Almanac.” Her most recent book is How the Light Gets In: Writing as a Spiritual Practice (2013). Find out more about Pat’s books and writing workshops at her Official Website.

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🐶 PET CRAZY GIVEAWAY WINNER! 🐰

Thank you for commenting about your favorite pets last week. Enjoyed reading the rhymes and picturing a white stray cat named Silmarillion lapping milk, a hound who croons at the moon, and a dog who likes to lick his owner’s feet. There was also a Lizzy and a Lizzie, one a salamander, the other a fish . . . or a dragon? 🙂

Mr Cornelius picked the winner with the careful long distance supervision of Monsieur Random Integer Generator, who’s in Provence having his mustache trimmed.

So, with a little trumpet fanfare and a jiggedy jig (drumrolls are passé this season),

we are pleased to announce that the winner of a brand new copy of Pet Crazy is:

🎉 Jan Godown Annino at BookSeedStudio!! 🎈

Congratulations, Jan!!

Please send your snail mail address to: readermail (at) jamakimrattigan (dot) com to receive your book. 🙂

Thanks again to everyone for entering the giveaway!

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The lovely and immensely talented Laura Purdie Salas is hosting the Roundup at Writing the World for Kids. Glide over and check out the full menu of poetic goodness being shared in the blogosphere this week. I can’t believe September is all but over already! Enjoy your weekend. 🙂


Copyright © 2017 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

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59 thoughts on ““the patience of ordinary things” by pat schneider

  1. It’s a loving poem by Pat Schneider, Jama, and I love your words, too, “how happy characters must be when we finally open their books and let them speak.” I’ve read Pat’s book, How The Light Gets In, so inspiring and thoughtful. Thanks for sharing about Pat today.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jama, Not only the words but the photos provided sustenance. At first glance I missed the blue bird and the mismatched chairs. And, I missed who pat Schneider is. Thank you for giving her back to me. I’m off to my book case to read more, again.
    Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks to Pat’s poem, I discovered Hollingsworth’s paintings, which seem to complement the spare beauty of Pat’s words. Enjoy your reading today, Joy.

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  3. Wonderful poem by Pat Schneider. Reminds me of the odes of Pablo Neruda. Made me well up with immense gratitude that my keys remain in their crystal leaf dish by the door, that my lamp stands on my nightstand, ready and willing, and that my robe is always there, hanging on its hook, patiently ready for a cold morning. I loved the paintings, too. How patient we women are, living in our books, waiting for our spouses and children. Waiting to hear back from agents. Waiting for the next surge of inspiration to reveal the next story in the grass.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s human nature to take things for granted, so it’s nice to read a poem that reminds us to take note. The old saying “patience is a virtue” is quite true, and seems to apply more to women than men (but then, I am unabashedly biased). 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Those are my favorite lines, Kate. Never thought of stairs (of which we have many in our house), as a “lovely repetition,” or windows (we have lots of them too), as being “generous.”

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  4. This all feeds my soul today in a way I can’t find words to describe! Thank you, Jama, and Pat Schneider, for your singular generosities in this stressed-out world, and for these gifts to us today. And to Karen Hollingsworth for those glorious pictures.
    (As a young married early-twenty-something, I flew myself out from NC to PSR 30 years ago or so to do a workshop on “Religion and Art” – I still cherish that awesome experience!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wonderful to hear about your workshop, Robyn. Pat has been/is so inspiring to many as poet, teacher, mentor, and as you said, unfailingly generous.

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    1. Sometimes it’s the simplest and most obvious things that elude us. The noise from the outside world all too often feeds into the grass is always greener syndrome. Glad you liked Pat’s poem!

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  5. Ooh, this is just beautiful. The artwork just enhances such beautiful words. Thank you for highlighting another amazing poet – How the Light Gets In sounds like something Madeleine L’Engle might have written, and now I want it, too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s wonderful to find a poem that makes you look at the world differently — thank goodness for artists, writers and musicians who help us do this every day.

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  6. Jama, this post is just a gift. The beautiful paintings, the grounding poem, and your own ruminations on the poem…I just read Kate Coombs’ forthcoming Breathe and Be. Totally different poetic style, but the tanka make me feel much the same way Pat’s poem does. Lovely!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Alas, waiting is something I’m not naturally very good at – I’m a go-go-go sort of person, always rushing, always on the move. Since I’ve started writing, though, I’ve had to learn to switch this part of my brain off, at least a bit, and learn to embrace the gift of patience, the gift of waiting, and all that it can bring.

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  8. Thank you so much for sharing Pat Schneider’s poem and creating an oasis of serenity and gratitude in my Sunday morning. I’ve been a wee bit grumpy lately, suffering from first world problems, and this poem and the accompanying photographs were just what I needed.

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    1. Happy Sunday! Sorry to hear about the problems. Poetry is such a great source of comfort and solace in trying times. Hope things get better for you very soon. Take care.

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  9. Appreciations dear Jama, for sharing these windows, which made me move my position, to be next to one, & for the poem, which has soothed my soul & for your poetic words, especially about ideas finding the right person. I look forward to letting the links lead me to more tranquility.

    Plus, Thank you & yay! for the animal poems of PET CRAZY flying to me. ‘

    I also love arriving here on Monday morning, so that I can visit with all my friend’s hearts, in their comments.

    Happy October!
    Jan

    p.s. on the thought about ideas finding the perfect person – my author friend Joan Broerman recently gave me Elizabeth Gilbert’s BIG MAGIC, which posits E.G.’s wild woman theory of how that happens, in a fun read. . .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I enjoyed Big Magic — lots of inspiration and truths there. Windows seem to be good for whatever ails you. You just never know what you might see. Congrats again on winning the giveaway. 🙂

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  10. Thanks for sharing this centering poem by Pat Schneider, we sure can use more of these types of poems with all going on! I’ve thought about the quiet in these “ordinary things” too, and I’m so glad they are there to balance us a bit. Thanks Jama for introducing me to Pat Schneider and her poetry.

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    1. Yes, we certainly need more poems to calm us down and help us to cope. I’ve come to value my quiet routine more than ever, and am grateful for all I have.

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