Sunday Chores ~ with Poetry

It’s a perfect day in Charleston. A Sunday, with Tarheel blue skies, bright spring sunshine percolating up to 80 degrees and way too much to choose from: Historic Charleston Foundation’s House & Garden Tours, their Antiques Show, the beach, a run or bike ride to prep, last minute, for next week’s Bridge Run and the After the Bridge Run bike ride, and of course, the Piggly Wiggly Shoot-Out —  if you happen to have a young soccer player, as I do.  I get overwhelmed on these spring-fever weekends;  I want to cram it all in — hit all the fun events AND get my chores done AND sit down with the Sunday Times.  It’s impossible, so instead I surrender and take a poetry pause.

Rather than tidying the house, polishing furniture or swooning over mahogany morsels at the Antiques Show, I offer you this from Charleston poet Barbara Hagerty (whose house is probably on the H&G tours!).   A bit of “housework” — Literary Charleston style:

The Perfect Day

Everywhere I turn —
to billboards, t.v. ads, magazines —
philosophers of the Moment
exhort me to Grab life by the horns —
live with Gusto — carpe Diem —

but I want to water my Geraniums
in slow motion –think
about them as Individuals,
talk out loud with my cat –Rumi —
uphold his End of the conversation, too

before vanishing into my library
with a Few books, a Ream of paper —
and build sawhorses on which to Lay
a Flimsy construction — or two —
lathed by the stitchery of dashes —

move wobbly word towers around
or compress them into dainty sandwiches —
the cucumber ind, Without the crusts —
keeping an eye open all the while
on the progress of our local Star

As it cycles across the room
until the violet hour comes
and I must turn on the lamp.
Then, its spotlight pools on my cat and me
and we see with Satisfaction at the verge

some Nouns and Verbs, freshly carpentered,
teetering in a little stack –ready, waiting —
for the Next perfect day,
of moving words around
like the lightest of furniture.

The Perfect Day
by Barbara Hagerty

The Guest House published by Finishing Line Press


3 thoughts on “Sunday Chores ~ with Poetry

  1. Your revolutionary choice to make a packed Sunday a day of rest instead, and Barbara’s poem that realizes her Perfect Day in her choice to water the geraniums (slow motion) and to be a carpenter of words, the stuff of poetry, is useful to this recent retiree. You give me counter-cultural inspiration to say when asked what I’m doing with my time: retirement does not have to be “I’m busier now than I ever was.” I think it can be a time for rich sabbath rest, walks and contemplation, tending friendships, maybe even opening a crack to the wisdom that is said to come with age–and occasionally does, but even then starts with the choice to sit down and shut up. Which I will do now. Thank you both.

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