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The Patience of Ordinary Things
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 and Artists Press, 2005).
Used 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:
Thanks for a beautiful poem about all the thing we take for granted until loss.
Posted 03/20/2015 08:23 PM
Posted 03/20/2015 03:00 PM
Shoshauna Shy:
I love the towel, and the generosity of the window. This is one poem that I will carry around in my backpack, (I don't feel compelled to do that very often!)
Posted 03/20/2015 01:57 PM
Love the pictures she paints. Nothing 'ordinary' about this extraordinary poem; loved it.
Posted 03/20/2015 11:31 AM
Janet Leahy:
I just want this poem to go on and on, it is such a delight. Thank you Pat.
Posted 03/20/2015 10:56 AM
One of my favorites, Pat. So quiet and full.
Posted 03/20/2015 09:06 AM
I love this one.
Posted 03/20/2015 08:48 AM
Joe Sottile:
Bravo! Bravo! It reminds me of Billy Collins and his poetry.
Posted 03/20/2015 08:46 AM
Zen-like, lovely and true...
Posted 03/20/2015 07:21 AM
Love this!!!
Posted 03/20/2015 07:19 AM
Posted 03/20/2015 07:01 AM
I love this.
Posted 03/20/2015 06:56 AM
Jean :D:
What an A-HA moment it was reading this by a very impatient person, me. This gives much food for thought! Thank you.
Posted 03/20/2015 05:14 AM
What concentration of meaning and images in support.
Posted 03/20/2015 03:30 AM
I look upon everyday things quite differently now! Thank you. I shall quote you very often I think.
Posted 03/20/2015 01:22 AM

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