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Woman, Ironing
Pat Schneider


Under her veined hands
The wrinkled world unfolds
And no one, watching, guesses
What she holds.

She guides the cloth with her left hand
And moves the iron with her right
While morning gives way to afternoon,
And afternoon, to night.

She is ordering primal chaos
On the scale of the human heart.
When you love the body you iron for,
Ironing is an art.

From The Weight of Love (Negative Capability Press, 2018).
Used here with the author’s permission.




Pat Schneider (1934 - 2020) was born in the Ozark mountains of Missouri but moved to Massachusetts after she married. A poet, playwright,  and librettist, she published ten books, including Writing Alone and with Others (Oxford University Press). Founder of Amherst Writers & Artists, Pat had a passion for those dealing with poverty and other misfortunes. She and her husband, a Methodist minister, devoted many years to community-based social justice ministry.


Post New Comment:
Your poetry tells an authentic picture of care. Yes, we elders have many ways of finding love in our lives, even if it is through ironing.
Posted 02/06/2019 10:24 AM
Lori Levy:
I agree with the comments others made!
Posted 02/04/2019 08:28 PM
I love how you have made a mundane and sometimes hated activity into a beautiful and meaningful act. Thank you for this poem. Grace Chappell
Posted 02/04/2019 02:50 PM
Such a beautiful paradigm shift -- love it, and thank you.
Posted 02/04/2019 11:05 AM
becky evans:
A beautiful poem. Routine work that some of us detest, or try to avoid, becomes valued and desired here. I love the rhyme, the veined hands, "the wrinkled world unfolds," the sense of time passing, not just in 24 hours, but over the years. Stunning ending!
Posted 02/04/2019 09:44 AM
Glen Sorestad:
Well done, Pat, a very fine poem and a fine way to start the week.
Posted 02/04/2019 09:16 AM
I really like this poem. Beautiful.
Posted 02/04/2019 08:59 AM
I could visualize my mother at her ironing board. Thank you.
Posted 02/04/2019 08:45 AM
Janet Leahy:
Lovely.word choices in this poem, a task becomes a work of art through the poet's eyes.
Posted 02/04/2019 08:45 AM
Your last two lines are the killer, Pat. Of course, to quote Gibran, � work is love made visible�. Well done.
Posted 02/04/2019 07:41 AM
Larry Schug:
This poem illustrates the value of all work, no matter how menial, especially approached with love.
Posted 02/04/2019 06:35 AM

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