A Commonplace

 Laszlo Moholy-Nagy dayoftheartist.com

Laszlo Moholy-Nagy dayoftheartist.com

I looked for a commonplace
but couldn’t find it among the ordinary
     The water spigot or the garden hose
     The beat-up shovel or the rusty hoe
The Italian parsley has all gone to seed
The slugs are in the rhubarb

Finding commonplaces is hard
A lot more work than most people think
     Not every stone contains a story
     Not every old man has character
For the most part life’s ordinary things
are like blank pages in a book

But now & then a rock will jump
when seen from the corner of one’s eye
     The fibered bark of the cedar tree
     will start to sing one line at a time
That’s when an old man grows attentive
Then it’s time for the spit & polish

“Take a commonplace, clean it and polish it
light it so that it produces the same effect of youth and freshness
and originality and spontaneity as it did originally
and you have done a poet’s job.
The rest is literature.” ~ Jean Cocteau


About Peter Notehelfer

I'm a retired people person who now finds the time to watch the little details of the world without worrying about being watched by anyone . . . I live on an Island north of Seattle with my wife named Ellen, a yellow dog named McGee, a yellow cat named Gatzby, and four fine chickens . . . I read fiction, bake bread, smoke salmon, and fish whenever the weather allows . . . Oh, and yes, I try to write a poem every day simply to avoid senility!
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6 Responses to A Commonplace

  1. just call me prezzemolo (parsley)


  2. ebbtide says:

    love it when the rocks cooperate and begin to jump! :) a wonderful piece


  3. ~meredith says:

    Very compelling. Seems that it’s the way of the hoe and garden hose that leads most of us to those first glimpses of rocks jumping (and other, ordinary miracles).


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