Skip to main content

Celebrating Everyday Matters

The Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda exalted the basic things of our daily existence. He celebrated the mundane in ways that were quite extraordinary. Through his poetry he discovered beauty in everyday  moments and objects, making them appear remarkable and worthy of sharing. Check out Pablo Neruda's Ode To My Socks.

I also recommend Valerie Worth's book, 'All the Small Poems And 14 More.'  Worth celebrates a range of everyday earthly wonders. Each poem a precise tribute to ordinary things. These poets have taught me to recognize the innate value of everyday objects and events.

When we sit quietly for a while, we begin to notice the beauty surrounding us. We develop a renewed appreciation for the seemingly invisible events that make up our lives. Young writers and poets need exposure to such potentially rewarding activities. Beauty exists in simple, everyday tasks and pleasures. We must show them how we engage in the celebration of the everyday, -how we smell the roses...


We share the kitchen
Washing the dishes
There are too few to bother the dishwasher
When it's tea for two
Working instinctively
Back and forth
At our respective tasks
Washing, wiping
Restoring order
Never colliding
Never bumping
Through kitchen sink manoeuvres
Each plate, fork, cup 
Returning to its assigned place
Conversation floats easily like background music
Drifting through
A moment
A memory
As we measure the day just passed

The chore dissolves in a word sea
and sudsy waves
Task completed
We rinse and wring
Wipe and fold

The dishes are done
Order restored
Tea-towels retired

Alan j Wright


  1. I used to use Neruda's poems with my students, epecially brought in tomatoes to see what they might write, then read them his Ode. I don't think I've ever seen this one, "They were so handsome for the first time
    my feet seemed to me unacceptable" (chuckle). And yours is equally wonderful, Alan, memories of the "chore (that) dissolves in a word sea/and sudsy waves." It's a love poem to me, and beautiful. Thanks!

    1. Like you Linda, I have used Neruda's words to model the writing of odes to everyday things. I have also used Gary Soto's 'Ode To Pablo's Tennis Shoes.'
      Thank you for your remarks regarding my little poem. I too think of it as a love poem...

  2. Thank you for finding beauty in the mundane. This is lovely. :) I love Neruda.

    1. Thank you for your kind and supportive response Myra. Neruda was a word wizard, no doubt.

  3. "Conversation floats easily like background music / Drifting through / A moment / A memory / As we measure the day just passed" There's so much harmony and peace here. A comfortableness in each other's company. I enjoyed your poem, Alan. It was like reading about moments in my kitchen.

    1. Thanks Alice. So much surrounding our lives takes place in the kitchen. It is a reminder that ideas exist in things- and places. I'm pleased you found a connection in my words.

  4. You made the mundane task of washing dishes beautiful.

    1. Thank you Kimberly. That response pleases me. As writers it is important we learn to appreciate the potential of simple pleasures. I remain grateful to poets like Neruda and Worth for their most pertinent reminders.

  5. I love both of these collections--and your tribute to the simple pleasure of washing dishes together.

    1. Both poets provide us with eloquent evidence that the everyday object or event possesses beauty. We must learn to appreciate. Thank you Kay for your remarks.

  6. I love Valerie Worth's collection and often use poems from it with my students. I always enjoy when a poet describes an everyday object in a way that changes how I see that object. For example, because of Linda Baie's poem this week, I will always think of "bee invitations" when I see dandelions. I agree with her that your poem reads like a love poem. It really is a lovely kitchen duet.

    1. It is a joy when a poet directs our view towards objects and events that are frequently overlooked or passed by. It serves as a timely reminder that such things have inherent beauty. It pleases me that readers see the love in my poem. Thanks Molly and like you I love Valerie Worth's poetry.

  7. Alan, this is such a beautiful and touching post. I have heard of Worth's book several times but haven't read it yet. I think its time. I hope I can be still enough this week to find a moment between now and next Friday to write something as delicate and true as Dishes.

    1. Thank you Linda for your generous remarks. I hope you do purchase a copy of Valerie Worth's powerful little book and may you quarantine some time in the upcoming week to capture the essence of those simple pleasures that await discovery.

  8. What a lovely Ode to "DISHES" Alan, very lyrical, it could be set to music! I love the alliteration in it, moving it right along. Valerie Worth's book looks like a little treasure and Natalie Babbitt's illustrations are wonderful and sensitive (I like her books too)–I have to have a copy, thanks for sharing it with us. I'm familiar with "Ode To My Socks," I think I've shared it too–it takes you to an entirely new place.

  9. Thank you Michelle. I do love using alliteration. I have to be careful not to overuse it. May you find the same level of joy in Valerie Worth's poetry i have. I bought her books more than ten years ago while working in New York. I have never tired of it.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Opposite Poems

Opposite Poems

In his book, 'How To Write Poetry,' Paul Janeczko presents the idea of opposite poems. Paul suggests they could also be referred to as antonym poems. This is wordplay and it's fun to try.

Here are some examples Paul provides to help us see very clearly how these short little poems work.

I think the opposite of chair
Is sitting down with nothing there

What is the opposite of kind?
A goat that butts you from behind

Paul Janeczko

You will  notice the poems are written in rhyming couplets. They can be extended so long as you remember to write in couplets. Paul shows us how this is done.

What is the opposite of new?
Stale gum that's hard to chew
A hot-dog roll as hard as rock
Or a soiled and smelly forgotten sock

You might notice that some of Paul's opposite Poems begin with a question. The remainder of the poem answer the question posed.

Opposite poems are a challenge, but it is a challenge worth trying. Not every thing has an opposite and not every word has an easy t…

List Poems Are Easy To Like

A list poem is one of the easiest kinds of poems to write because it doesn't require a set rhythm or rhyme. But that doesn't mean you should write anything down helter- skelter.

Consider the inclusion of the following elements to make a list poem a poem instead of just a list:

• The writer is telling you something--pointing something out--saying, "Look at this," or, "Think about this."
• There's a beginning and end to it, like in a story.
• In other words, the poem needs to make sense and have some kind of flow to it.

List poems provide an easy and successful structure to get children feeling more comfortable with poetry. They are to be found in the poetry of many cultures and have been employed successfully by many contemporary poets.

Poetry is full of surprises. List also need to be full of surprises. Without the occasional surprise your list poems will have all the appeal of a supermarket shopping list on a day when you don't want to go shopping!

Here …

REPETITION in poetry

What do you do when you want to remember something? 
Do you say it to yourself again and again until you learn it? 
That’s using repetition. 
Repetition in poetry may include a word, a phrase, a line, or even a stanza the poet wants to use more than once for particular effect. We hear it, We see it. We begin to feel its presence.

When using repetition the poet must make sure that what is repeated is important to the poem, otherwise it can feel or sound overdone.

In the poem, Bully For Me, I consciously repeated the words, 'But ours left'in each stanza hoping to create a sense of relief in the mind of the reader.

Bully For Me

We had a bully at our school
I think every school has one
-But ours left
Now, I can ride to school

We had a bully at our school
-But ours left
And now playtime is fun again

We had a bully at our school
-But ours left
I wonder if that person is happy?
Like me and my friends 
Are now

If we want young poets to use repetition effectively we need to ensure we plan for it i…