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?

The Patience of Ordinary Things

I had not considered how the ordinary things around me might denote patience, might in their stillness, teach me to slow down by their calmness, their equanimity. This poet offers us a rich statement/question to begin: It is a kind of love, is it not? Does that not invite you to read further, to find out more about this kind of love?

She speaks of the very ordinary – the cup holding your tea, the chair on which you may be sitting at this very moment, the floor on which we stand, the soles of our feet which know Where they’re supposed to be. All this is love, found in the simple things we take for granted. And then she speaks of patience: clothes hanging in closets – respectfully no less, towels drying our bodies and my favourite, the soap which dries quietly in the dish – in truth, it makes no sound.

She leads us then to the lovely repetition of stairs, patiently replicating themselves to take us up or down without demands. Then that last question: And what is more generous than a window? I marvel at that description as I look out my kitchen window at the generosity of green leaves, climbing roses in my neighbours’ yard, redwing blackbirds streaking by. Generous, patient, ordinary – it really is a kind of love.

14 thoughts on “The Patience of Ordinary Things by Pat Schneider

  1. I love how these words animate what we consider inanimate – most of the time
    Even my devices – offer me a Window- into this poem- into the worlds of others
    Words leap from the page and move my being – open new possibilities for this day
    Deep thanks

    Like

  2. Dear Jan,
    I needed this/these reminders today. Thank you for drawing out- so artfully- the elements of the poem and life that I wish to pay more attention to. Your sharing helped me shift from the mental to the feeling body!
    May you feel this love and abundant blessings this weekend.
    Candy

    Candy

    Like

  3. Dear Jan: This poem moves me more than I expected. Reading your post, I too look out the window at the patient trees. Thank you! Love, Mary Lou

    Like

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