Thursday, May 2, 2019


I am always moved by poems that celebrate the small, ordinary joys. 
Natalie Goldberg is a master at writing about the ordinary, in a way that allows us to see the hidden depths beneath the seemingly simple words.

“Writing is the willingness to see," she writes. “In writing with detail, you are turning to face the world. It is a deeply political act, because you are not just staying in the heat of your own emotions, you are offering up some good solid bread for the hungry.

“I write … because I am a woman trying to stand up in my life. I write out of hurt and trying to make that hurt okay, how to make myself strong, and come home." These quotes are taken from her book Let the Whole Thundering World Come Home, a memoir about her battle with cancer, a truly wonderful read.

"The deepest secret in our heart of hearts is that we are writing because we love the world,” she says. One feels this love, this gratitude, in the following poem by Ms Goldberg:


It is very deep to have a cup of tea
Also coffee in a white cup
with milk
a hand to go around the cup
and a mouth to open and take it in
It is very deep and very good to have a heart
Do not take the heart for granted
it fills with blood and lets blood out

Good to have this chair to sit in
with these feet on the floor
while I drink this coffee
in a white cup
To have the air around us to be in
To fill our lungs and empty them like weeping
this roof to house us
the sky to house the roof in endless blue
To be in the Midwest
with the Atlantic over there
and the Pacific on our other side

It is good this cup of coffee
the milk in it
the cows who gave us this milk
simple as a long piece of grass

Natalie Goldberg
from Top of My Lungs, 2002

“Celebrate the ordinary: white coffee cups, sparrows, thin ham sandwiches,” says Natalie, whose best advice to a writer is to pick up the pen and write whatever comes, without censoring ourselves.

Let’s give this a try.

For your prompt, look around you. Select some small ordinary thing you rarely give much thought to and include it somehow in your poem 


Write about this present moment, just as it is. Let’s celebrate the ordinary, the small treasures, pleasures and comforts that surround us.


Kim M. Russell said...

i've been struggling to catch up, let alone write a new poem! My seasonal paid work will be taking priority from now on, so I apologise if my comments become shorter, sparser and sometimes just a click on 'like' from time to time. I'm off now to Bounce and Rhyme, then I have to get on with more work, but I'll be back this evening for a while. :)

Kerry O'Connor said...

Thank you for hosting again so hot on the heels of April, Sherry. My little poem is a rewrite of an old one - but I did a new illustration, for a change of pace and scenery.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

I am looking forward to celebrating the ordinary joys. Thanks for taking part, so soon after April.

Jenna said...

This is a great prompt, inspired by a beautiful poem.

tonispencer said...

Thank you Sherry for this prompt that gently reminds us, nothing is ordinary.

Susie Clevenger said...

Sherry, thank you.. I'm a bit weary from April, but I found a poem I think suits the prompt.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

I love celebrating the ordinary joys, and Toni is right - there ARE none, we are surrounded with blessings.

brudberg said...

I am going to bed now... which is why I wrote an ode to my bed

Sherry Blue Sky said...

LOL, I love my bed, cant wait to get there, after gardening today on my little deck, involving many trips up and down to the building's storage units in the basement. I once wrote an ode to my purple bed, come to think of it.

Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...

Oh goody, a new (to me anyway) Natalie Goldberg book. I just rushed off and got the Kindle ed., and in doing so found another I was unaware of and got that too. I doubt if I'll have time to write a poem for this prompt, but just wanted to say thank you for alerting me to a new treasure from one of my favourite writers.

Margaret said...

I will have to google Natalie Goldberg - I really enjoyed her! Thanks and I think you will enjoy my photo...

Jim said...

If I were to write something today instead of last night I would take another approach. Next time, I'm seeing several ways that made for really interesting reading. Thank you Sherry and Toads.

Mr. Walker said...

A lovely prompt idea. And it reminds me that I need to revisit one of Natalie Goldberg's books on writing. And I'm happy to have discovered this garden.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Mr Walker, lovely to see you pop up here. It has been a while since our paths have crossed.

I love Natalie Goldberg's memoirs, Long Quiet Highway, her book about her Zen practice, the memoir about her bout with cancer, above, and her writing memoir, Old Friend From Far Away.

Linda Lee Lyberg said...

Sherry- what a great prompt. Thank you for all you do!

robkistner said...

Would love to tell Kerry O’Connor...
“I like your poem Kerry! I especially like your Lao Tsu quotes. A copy of his Tao Te Ching is next to my writing chair, and is frequently opened and read when I am down...”
...but I can’t, because her comments settings do not allow me to comment, unlike this IGWRT Blogger site. Maybe someone can pass my compliment along to Kerry... :-)