A poem by Al Zolynas
The Zen of Housework
I look over my own shoulder
down my arms
to where they disappear under water
into hands inside pink rubber gloves
moiling among dinner dishes.
My hands lift a wine glass,
holding it by the stem and under the bowl.
It breaks the surface
like a chalice
rising from a medieval lake.
Full of the grey wine of domesticity, the glass floats
to the level of my eyes.
Behind it, through the window
above the sink, the sun, among
a ceremony of sparrows and bare branches,
is setting in Western America.
I can see thousands of droplets
of steam–each a tiny spectrum–rising
from my goblet of grey wine.
They sway, changing directions
constantly–like a school of playful fish,
or like the sheer curtain
on the window to another world.
Ah, the grey sacrament of the mundane!
Al’s poem certainly elevates the mundane task of washing dishes to…a sacrament! And, it illustrates that anything is fair game for inspiration from which to write your own poetry. Reading Al’s poem, we become very present with him as he washes the dinner dishes.
When reading a poem, I recommend that you read it at least twice. And aloud, slowly. The writer has placed line breaks where he feels they are appropriate. Reading it, let the line breaks support the meaning of the poem.
There is no writing prompt today. Instead, review Al’s poem giving it your full attention. Some things to notice are the shape of the poem on the page, the number of stanzas, the number of lines in each stanza, line breaks, the opening line , the closing or concluding line, cohesiveness, the punctuation (or lack of), rhyming or not, a rhythmic quality. Notice how the poet uses simile and metaphor and shifts his description from the actual to the metaphorical and back again. In your estimation, what is the purpose of this poem? Is there anything else that stands out for you? What feeling(s) does it evoke in you?
Have fun playing in the field of the daily mundane!