A cup of tea... soles of feet... a window...

Image by GailHoffman

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" by Pat Schneider
Another River: New and Selected Poems.


  1. Beautiful poem. Beautiful painting. Love the simplicity of both.

  2. It's a nice thought. But I disagree with the poem. It's not a kind of "love". These things mentioned can't "feel". Therefore, it's not a kind of "love". Love feels and sometimes grows impatient. Love, unanswered in life and prayers, sometimes brings heartache, confusion, uncertainty, many tears, and yes; ... impatience. Impatience for prayers so long prayed for ... yet continually go unanswered.

  3. I agree with you, belle. But this is also very confusing to me. Love... life... life and death... (who said anything about death? I know, but it just kind of goes with everything... )

  4. But, well... it's a poem.

    And the poet only said these things were "a kind" of love - not exactly love - but a kind of love.

    Imagine the embrace, the intimacy, the shared warmth, the sensuous coupling of cup and tea...

    I don't have to imagine, I know how much I need sturdy, foursquare support in my life, in my heart - support I can lean on, stand on, fall into when my weaknesses no longer allow me to stand up straight myself... something like a chair...

    And, oh the feeling of an old comfortable pair of shoes of slippers - like an old friend whose company I slip into, no pinching, no tightness, just a perfect fit of foot with shoes, planted on the floor, the path where my friend and I have walked before...

    I could go on about clothes and closets, soap in dishes - and thirsty towels caressing the center of my back, a place seldom touched and beyond my own reach...

    And the stairs, like a giant keyboard ready to play my ups and downs and beautiful even when silent...

    Can a window be generous? Only if it gives me sun and light all day and moon and stars all night... Only if it allows me to look out from inside, without requiring me to go out, allowing me to stay within when going out may be more than I can bear... Only if it delivers the sweet smell of wet grass, a cooling breeze on a day in July, the sound of crickets under a night sky, the chance to reach out and touch the rain and snow - or keep me dry and safe from the elements when storms approach...

    If any such patience of ordinary things would hold me like a cup holds tea - I would count myself blessed for eternity...

    You see, it's "a kind" of love, and it's a poem...

  5. you are so right, ConcordPastor. thank you for your thoughts...

    it is... just a poem. and, I guess we can say that for a lot of things in life: it is... just a bad day. it is... just a dream.

    (it is... just life?)

  6. joey: Amazing, isn't it, how "just" a word can change meaning so much.

    I didn't say it was "just" a poem as if poems were disposable or unnecessary or not worth attention.

    Nor would I say a bad day was "just" a bad day or a dream was "just" a dream, much less that life is "just" life...

    Bad days can hurt too much, dreams can be our only hope on some bad days and life, even on bad days and when dreams don't come true, life is the greatest gift we might ever hope to have...

    The poem at hand may not be the poem you want or need to read today
    but this poem might be the words, the dream, of someone whose life has seen many bad days...

  7. To me, all of the "kind of things" mentioned by the poet and by concordpastors poetic descriptions, depict a "kind of comfort". A "kind of comfort", so often sought when a "kind of love", is obsolete. For these comforts, I thank God.

  8. Yes, Joey ... it's just life. Poems, what is real, and what we imagine ... it's all just "life". To be continued, after our bodies wear out.


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and PRAY before you think!