pat schneider: “and what is more generous than a window?”

Today I am grateful for brief yet meaningful encounters.

Three years ago, I ordered a signed copy of Pat Schneider’s Another River: New and Collected Poems (2005) via her website. When it arrived, I was surprised to find a note from Pat with a gift copy of her chapbook, The Patience of Ordinary Things (2003).

I fell in love with the title poem, and was honored when Pat gave me permission to share it here. Though we only exchanged a few emails, I was touched by her kindness and generosity, totally in awe of the 83-year-old poet, author, playwright, teacher, and Founder/Director of Amherst Writers & Artists (AWA).

At the time, Pat’s poetry was new to me, and I knew little about her early years in Missouri, where, as the child of a single mother, she lived in tenements and an orphanage until she received a scholarship to attend college. “Those early experiences deeply influenced her writing and fueled her passion for those who have been denied voice through poverty and other misfortunes.”

Recently, while looking for more poems to share for Poetry Friday, I thought again about Pat and visited her website, where I was saddened to learn of her passing in August 2020. I read many tributes, listened to her reading her poems, and watched several interviews, awestruck not only by her professional accomplishments, but her abiding faith in human potential and creative genius, as she encouraged all to find and amplify their authentic voices.

I love hearing hers.

“Moon Balloon” by Sokol Selmani
THE MOON. TEN TIMES
by Pat Schneider

1. Round cool face of forever
    float free
    for me

2. Saucer without a teacup
    without the tyranny of 
    of tea

3. Owl eye without a pupil
    blind
    to contradiction

4. My white balloon
    has lost its string
    and me

5. Round, open mouth
    of the goddess
    of light

6. The night sky's
    exclamation:
    Oh!

7. Puppeteer
    of tides
    rock the shore of the world

8. Bright frisbee
    the dog star lost
    in the night

9. Perfect pearl crown
    of cornfields
    and night watchmen's hair

10. Bellybutton
      of God

~ from The Patience of Ordinary Things (Amherst Writers & Artists Press, 2003)
Art by Lee White
Continue reading

“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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