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Ordinary Life
Barbara Crooker


This was a day when nothing happened,
the children went off to school
remembering their books, lunches, gloves.
All morning, the baby and I built block stacks
in the squares of light on the floor.
And lunch blended into naptime,
I cleaned out kitchen cupboards,
one of those jobs that never gets done,
then sat in a circle of sunlight
and drank ginger tea,
watched the birds at the feeder
jostle over lunch's little scraps.
A pheasant strutted from the hedgerow,
preened and flashed his jeweled head.
Now a chicken roasts in the pan,
and the children return,
the murmur of their stories dappling the air.
I peel carrots and potatoes without paring my thumb.
We listen together for your wheels on the drive.
Grace before bread.
And at the table, actual conversation,
no bickering or pokes.
And then, the drift into homework.
The baby goes to his cars, drives them
along the sofa's ridges and hills.
Leaning by the counter, we steal a long slow kiss,
tasting of coffee and cream.
The chicken's diminished to skin & skeleton,
the moon to a comma, a sliver of white,
but this has been a day of grace
in the dead of winter,
the hard cold knuckle of the year,
a day that unwrapped itself
like an unexpected gift,
and the stars turn on,
order themselves
into the winter night.


From Selected Poems (FutureCycle Press, 2015).
Used here with the author’s permission.


Barbara Crooker’s award-winning poems have appeared in numerous magazines, journals, and anthologies and have been featured on the BBC, the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Company), The Writer's Almanac, and in the Poetry at Noon series at the Library of Congress. Recipient of many fellowships and residencies in the U.S., as well as in Ireland and France, she was also a Grammy finalist for her part in the audio version of the popular anthology, Grow Old Along with Me--the Best is Yet to Be. Barbara lives in Fogelsville, Pennsylvania. Learn more about Barbara at





Post New Comment:
So very beautiful.
Posted 04/05/2016 08:50 PM
That is simply exquisite. Thank you!
Posted 04/05/2016 01:50 PM
Lori Levy:
Makes the ordinary so beautiful and special!
Posted 04/05/2016 01:19 PM
Posted 04/05/2016 12:47 PM
Family life. School days, school wonderful to image them again.
Posted 04/05/2016 12:11 PM
Thank you for bringing an 'important' day to light in such a magical way. I struggle to remember mine...gone in a blink. Only...later do you realize their importance. Judy
Posted 04/05/2016 11:59 AM
Jayne, I'm enjoying this year's parade and Barbara's poem is one more jewel in the procession! Thanks to both of you.
Posted 04/05/2016 11:38 AM
This poem is indeed a treasure.
Posted 04/05/2016 09:14 AM
Each time I read this I love it more! Congratulations, Barbara!
Posted 04/05/2016 08:39 AM
Nabby Dog:
This poem is a glorious celebration of the "ordinary" made extraordinary by Barbara Crooker. It is a testament to what is truly important in our lives and I love the pure clarity Barbara brings to the wonders right before our eyes. This poem, as with all of Barbara's poetry, makes me grateful to be human and grateful to be alive.
Posted 04/05/2016 08:09 AM
The rhytmn of events came to a celebratory pause at > this has been a day of grace in the dead of winter...closed my eyes to more fully absorb this beauty--a shining word painting! Thanks, Barbara. Lovely art work.
Posted 04/05/2016 08:03 AM
A lovely poem capturing a mother's savoring a tranquil day.
Posted 04/05/2016 07:53 AM
Finding a Crooker poem in the morning always makes it an even better one than we knew!
Posted 04/05/2016 06:43 AM
absolutely and always one of my favorite poets!
Posted 04/05/2016 06:38 AM
Another restless night. What a joy to read that wonderful poem. Just beautiful. What a wonderful family. This 'ordinary life' is so fantastic. I'm at a loss for the right words of praise.
Posted 04/05/2016 03:13 AM
fuddygail oh, Barbara, that was delicious...tasting of coffee and cream...bravo!
Posted 04/05/2016 02:11 AM

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