Friday night kitchen supper. Wedges, flan, broccoli.
Recycling, gloves, cds, a hairbrush. Stacked pots teeter;
Papers, pile on pile, shoved to the table-end. It could be neater.
Glasses of milk. Cake or fruit for pudding. ‘Please eat properly.’
The day’s stories: maths, lacrosse, chemistry, a “free”,
art. ‘We’re out of semi-skimmed.’ ‘The meeting went ok,
thanks.’ Then, the dishwasher fed, a game. We play
till past bedtime. Tired, safe, at ease, we get silly.
For the family, nothing remarkable perhaps. For me, a once
in every-so-often go at belonging:
not looking in, nose pressed against the window, longing,
but my place set at the table; not feeling like a dunce
at life, but part of it. I flood with gratitude
for toast-crumbs, chaos, kids. All the everyday beatitudes.
This poem is part of a sequence of ‘Holy Sonnets’ which, with a slightly abashed glance at John Donne, I am really enjoying writing. The intention is the same, I suppose, as that of what the afternoon knows as a whole: it’s about recognising the sacred in the apparently-everyday—the consecration of the “ordinary”.
First published in Allegro, March 2019