Friday, March 27, 2015

"Small Comfort" by Katha Pollitt (and my commentary)

Coffee and cigarettes in a clean cafe,
forsythia lit like a damp match against
a thundery sky drunk on its own ozone,

the laundry cool and crisp and folded away
again in the lavender closet-too late to find
comfort enough in such small daily moments

of beauty, renewal, calm, too late to imagine
people would rather be happy than suffering
and inflicting suffering. We're near the end,

but O before the end, as the sparrows wing
each night to their secret nests in the elm's green dome
O let the last bus bring

love to lover, let the starveling
dog turn the corner and lope suddenly
miraculously, down its own street, home.

This is one of my favorite pieces of poetry, I think because when I first read it I thought to myself, "Hm, this just feels like home."

There are so many elements within this piece of writing that just call to you of cozy day...the coffee at the cafe, folding laundry, pausing by a window in the foyer to watch an old neighborhood dog trying to find his way back home.

I can appreciate the simplicity of word choice, yet the poem is a deep sentiment.  Sort of the way she says, "here, these are the small things of my day, yet they mean so much."  I feel the same way, it is the smallest things of our lives that really add up...the hug of a child, the sound of rain, washing dishes.  Maybe it is the Zen Buddhist in me, but it is these things that give me my most reflective moments...the time to think, reasons to feel grateful.

Sometimes writing doesn't require monumental things like falling in love or vacationing in the tropics, or grand colors and irreversible life events.  Rather, sometimes it feels good just to sink your feet into the safe and familiar, your own memory found on someone else's page.  That invisible interconnection, a string of words that holds us all together.  

This is one of those poems.

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