Welcome to
Transactions with Beauty.
Thanks for being here.
I hope that this is a space that inspires you to add something beautiful to the world. I truly believe that 
you are required to make something beautiful.

– Shawna



3 Poems on the Ordinary Life

3 Poems on the Ordinary Life

These three poems on the so-called ordinary life are nothing alike. The ordinary life is like that. When we look back on things, what we miss are the simple things, the everyday, the ordinary. We miss those things that might have seemed mundane. Tea at the kitchen table, the flowers your husband brings home from the grocery store. A roasting chicken, homework strewn about, drawings held by a magnet to the fridge. Phoning a parent, listening to a concert. 

The things I like most about my life are the ordinary things. Making a cup of coffee before I leave for an evening shift at work. Taking photos. Walking the dog. Talking to our daughter on Skype. The moment when Rob brings a painting upstairs half way done, or when it's finished, and sets it on the sideboard in our living room. Writing in the early morning quiet. 

How about you? What are your favourite ordinary moments?


1. Ordinary Life by Adam Zagajewski 

Our life is ordinary,
I read in a crumpled paper
abandoned on a bench.
Our life is ordinary,
the philosophers told me.
Ordinary life, ordinary days and cares,
a concert, a conversation,
strolls on the town’s outskirts,
good news, bad—
but objects and thoughts
were unfinished somehow,
rough drafts.
Houses and trees
desired something more
and in summer green meadows
covered the volcanic planet
like an overcoat tossed upon the ocean.
Black cinemas crave light.
Forests breathe feverishly,
clouds sing softly,
a golden oriole prays for rain.
Ordinary life desires.

(Translated, from the Polish, by Clare Cavanagh.)

kitchen table with cookies

2. Ordinary Life by Barbara Crooker

This was a day when nothing happened, 
the children went off to school
without a murmur, remembering
their books, lunches, gloves. 
All morning, the baby and I built block stacks
in the squares of light on the floor. 
And lunch blended into naptime, 
I cleaned out kitchen cupboards, 
one of those jobs that never gets done, 
then sat in a circle of sunlight
and drank ginger tea, 
watched the birds at the feeder
jostle over lunch's little scraps. 
A pheasant strutted from the hedgerow, 
preened and flashed his jeweled head. 
Now a chicken roasts in the pan, 
and the children return, 
the murmur of their stories dappling the air. 
I peel carrots and potatoes without paring my thumb. 
We listen together for your wheels on the drive. 
Grace before bread. 
And at the table, actual conversation, 
no bickering or pokes. 
And then, the drift into homework. 
The baby goes to his cars, drives them
along the sofa's ridges and hills. 
Leaning by the counter, we steal a long slow kiss, 
tasting of coffee and cream. 
The chicken's diminished to skin & skeleton, 
the moon to a comma, a sliver of white, 
but this has been a day of grace
in the dead of winter, 
the hard cold knuckle of the year, 
a day that unwrapped itself
like an unexpected gift, 
and the stars turn on, 
order themselves
into the winter night.


green tea and ginger cookies

3. Grief Calls Us to the Things of This World by Sherman Alexie

                                    The morning air is all awash with angels . . . - Richard Wilbur

The eyes open to a blue telephone
In the bathroom of this five-star hotel.

I wonder whom I should call? A plumber,
Proctologist, urologist, or priest?

Who is most among us and most deserves
The first call? I choose my father because

He’s astounded by bathroom telephones.
I dial home. My mother answers. “Hey, Ma,

I say, “Can I talk to Poppa?” She gasps,
And then I remember that my father

Has been dead for nearly a year. “Shit, Mom,"
I say. “I forgot he’s dead. I’m sorry—

How did I forget?” “It’s okay," she says.
“I made him a cup of instant coffee

This morning and left it on the table—
Like I have for, what, twenty-seven years—

And I didn’t realize my mistake
Until this afternoon.” My mother laughs

At the angels who wait for us to pause
During the most ordinary of days

And sing our praise to forgetfulness
Before they slap our souls with their cold wings.

Those angels burden and unbalance us.
Those fucking angels ride us piggyback.

Those angels, forever falling, snare us
And haul us, prey and praying, into dust.

{read an interview with Sherman Alexie here}

tea and cookies
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