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Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Patience of Ordinary Things

(Fork by André Kertész, 1894-1985, Hungarian-born

“To the steadfast eye of one standing upon the shore of things,” wrote the American architect Louis Sullivan (1856-1924), “looking chiefly and most lovingly upon that side on which the sun shines and that we feel joyously to be life, the heart is ever gladdened by the beauty, the exquisite spontaneity, with which life seeks and takes on its forms in an accord perfectly responsive to its needs. It seems ever as though the life and the form were absolutely one and inseparable so adequate is the sense of fulfillment. . . .

“It is the pervading law of all things organic and inorganic, of all things physical and metaphysical, of all things human and all things superhuman, of all true manifestations of the head, of the heart, of the soul, that the life is recognizable in its expression, that form ever follows function.”


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?

~ Pat Schneider, American poet and writer


Bruce said...

I've been thinking something like this lately, myself. The answer to greed, I think, is to treat material things, indeed, all things, with an I-Thou relationship. Brother Sun, Sister Moon, Neighbor Falling Leaves In My Gutter, that sort of thing. Only not with the weird sense.

This I-Thou relationship with all things captures the same personal alertness that New Age "mindfulness" captures, but brings an awareness of the Createdness of all things under God. We are stewards who know the names of all things.

GretchenJoanna said...

I love this reminds me of how Chesterton said that it is the ordinary and everyday things that are so surprising and glorious. We should be amazed that the tea doesn't float up out of the teacup, and that the clothes don't get bored and run away.
It's lovely how you find the perfect picture to go with the poem!