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Poem: What it is is Beautiful

I’d really had it with the mess,
the way there wasn’t a single clear surface
to deflect the meager winter light,
but only piles of haphazard papers
made up of macaroni crafts
purporting to be flat.

Clothing was flung on the floor,
from jackets in the front hall
to a trail of socks and sweaters
as the kids molted
on their way to the kitchen.

I stalked through it,
seething over the futility of a to-do list
featuring anything other than
Pick up after people
—when the corner of a toy
dug into my foot.

I staggered, and blinked,
and then it was in my hand,
my arm wound back,
ready to hurl the offending plastic
straight into the trash—

but something stopped me.
Maybe it was the thought of my child
careening through the house,
wearing a million-dollar smile
and this lego creation on her head,

or maybe it was just my usual exhaustion.
I flopped down on the sofa,
raised the toy to my face,
and peered through.

The makeshift lenses
were sticky and clouded
and smelled suspiciously of banana.
But a vision of the room entered in with a glow,
and I leaned forward,

A massive bear
stood where our dining table had been,
offering his broad back for our daily rounds
of dinner and homework.

Below him,
the floor was a slick pane of ice
spread out in all directions.
As I watched, one of the kids
came running in from the hall,
then did a swift drop
and slid the length of the room
on her knees.

I laughed and stood up,
set the goggles on a shelf:
dinner wasn’t getting made
by this magic, and my ice skater
would soon be clamoring for a meal.

So I picked my way across the cold floor,
kicking lumps of clothing into corners
to clear the rink, and stopping only
to give our messy table
an affectionate pat.

I considered attempting
a knee slide right up to the stove,
but instead drew a long breath
and stepped to my post—
to undertake a task from my list
and forage in a fridge of leftovers
for items I could transform
into a feast.

© 2012 Sarah Dunning Park

Reading Time:

2 minutes





  1. Naomi

    That poetry was magic! Thanks for the links this happy weekend!

  2. Jessica @ Quirky Bookworm

    I read Meagan and Mandi’s posts earlier this week…both good stuff! I’ll have to check out the others.

    And, thanks for the poem — so true! I need some magic Lego goggles around here. 🙂

  3. Mary

    Your poetry was completely unexpected and I was really delighted. This is my first visit to your blog, so I took some time tobrowse through your earlier posts. I’m so glad I did that. You’ve created a great spot to visit and I really enjoyed the time I spent here. I’ll definitely be back. I hope you have a great day. Blessings…Mary

    • Sarah

      Welcome to SimpleMom, Mary! I’m so glad you stopped by and that you enjoyed my poem!

      This place is the creation of Tsh Oxenreider, and I’m honored to be “poet in residence” this year…posting a poem each third Sunday of the month.

      Tsh has wonderful articles all month long, and I hope you’ll be back!


  4. Sarah Clachar

    Sarah, what a great poem! Certainly I look back at the chaos and mess in so many photos of when the kids are young and I grimace. But then I notice my babe’s grin with spaghetti all over his mouth. Or my girl’s intense look as she crafts a mermaid out of clay oblivious to the mess around her and I know what was important got done.

  5. Rose

    Beautiful poem and a good reminder. I had one of those moments early this morning when I looked down upon my little boys head. Clinging diligently to his scalp was a generous sprinkling of silver glitter -remnants from the robot birthday party we went to the previous afternoon. Whoops on my bathing/cleanliness routine. Oh well…so now instead of three little noises with dirt on them (boys) I have one with glitter.

  6. Sleeping Mama

    I found the blog post about beautiful girls thought-provoking. I commented on her blog too, but basically I found that so long as your definition of beauty extends beyond the physical and includes other wholesome traits, then it should be fine to tell our children they’re beautiful. If however they grow up thinking their beauty is “their thing,” there’s a risk that they’ll grow up insecure (I knew a few women who felt like this, despite or because everyone knew them to be the “pretty ones”).

  7. Archer

    Good call on the FIMBY link. Loved that one when she posted it!! Spoke to me, too.

  8. katepickle

    Oh that poem just exactly described my morning…. beautiful!

  9. Sushi Las_ Vegas

    OMG !! THat’s what I call something inspirational !! Gr8 words of wisdom by you !! Cheers

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