A Poem (And a Pretty Picture) for Your Monday

Sep 19, 2011



The muscles in my legs have been achy and sore for two days.  No, I didn’t go jogging (horror!).  I spent most of Saturday rearranging my books, and it seems I vastly underestimated the after-effects of shuffling books from shelves to floor and back to different shelves.

The big book shuffle was prompted by a single new bookcase.  It arrived on Friday, packed in one slender yet unbelievably heavy box.  On Saturday morning the three boys tackled it with their respective hammers (plastic for the two-year-old, which pleased him not at all). 

Within half an hour I was standing in front of one of the loveliest sights I can imagine: pristine, empty bookshelves. 

They didn’t stay empty long.  I gathered up the piles of books which have quietly accumulated in the corners of my house, and, after much dusting and a thorough rearranging, discovered that I should have ordered two new bookcases. 

No matter.  I can’t think of a better way to spend a cloudy, drizzly Saturday than handling (and remembering) each of my books as I slide them into place.

It was only as I carried my poetry collection from family room built-ins to dining room shelves that my pleasure dimmed.  I haven’t reached for any of these books in such a long time (not since my last Intro. to Lit. class), and I felt suddenly sad to think of so much treasure sitting untouched, collecting dust.

I had the idea, then, to share some of these poems here on my blog.  I grant you, it’s very self-indulgent.  But isn’t blogging always that, to some extent? 

The thing I’ve long loved most about teaching is the simple act of sharing beautiful things.  I’ve missed that.

So, without further ado, a poem for you (inspired by last week’s post on the magic of mirrors):

                                                Miracle Glass Co.

                                Heavy mirror carried

                                Across the street,

                                I bow to you

                                And to everything that appears in you,


                                And never again the same way:


                                This street with its pink sky,

                                Row of gray tenements,

                                A lone dog,

                                Children on rollerskates,

                                Woman buying flowers,

                                Someone looking lost.


                                In you, mirror framed in gold

                                And carried across the street

                                By someone I can’t even see,

                                To whom, too, I bow.

                                              –     Charles Simic

 This is a perfect ode, in my opinion, for kicking off plans to reacquaint myself with the poetry on my shelves.  It reminds me that creating art is often as simple as reframing the everyday (as my sister’s photograph moves us to see peeling paint with new eyes). 

Within the gold frame of a poem, the ordinary is transformed.  Simic is right.  It is a miracle.

Blowing the dust off of a poem and reading it, we bow to the vision it offers, we bow to its maker, the poet, and we remember our own maker, who created us to create.


  1. Kelli

    I love poetry but never really know where to start looking for new things to read so if you miss teaching, I’ll happily attend online classes with Dr. Purifoy.
    This was lovely 🙂

  2. Myrna Purifoy

    Count me in the group who loves poetry. Each of us has our favorite style(s) of poetry just as with any other expression of art, of course. I am curious as to where you arranged your new bookcase?

    • Christie Purifoy

      You might remember the three bookcases lining the dining room wall? I ordered one more just like it – now there are four. But it seems that books are having babies in my house – I had to put books on the very top (with bookends) as well as on the shelves. I did take a few grocery bags full of books to the thrift store, but then I left with a bag of new books. I may have a book-buying problem, though, in my defense, it’s very hard to resist 25 cent vintage thrift store children’s books. 🙂

  3. Michelle DeRusha

    Christie! What a delight to meet you here — I just love your place. Your blog is beautiful, and I love your way with words. So glad you stopped by Graceful today! I read a bit about you and your memoir — it sounds fascinating (I have a friend who suffers from the same disorder). And it sounds as well that it would offer a wealth of hope for anyone grappling and floundering in the wilderness. It seems we are on this plunging, curving writing journey together!

    • Christie Purifoy

      Welcome to my place, Michelle! It’s a true honor to have you here, and I couldn’t agree more with your words: like most things in life, writing is about the journey (not some ultimate arrival). It’s so good to join hands with others following the same path.

  4. David Nilsen

    Books, bookshelves, and rainy Saturdays? You’re speaking my language.

  5. Mark

    I love your blog. When it comes to reading you are my pace-setter!
    Somehow I’m not finding the correct recipe however for peace and contentment in my reading!….I just finished the book Fed Up by Gov Rick Perry and am now in Reasonable Faith by William Lane Craig. Both books make my brain cells spin and my blood pressure rise. What’s my problem?

    • Christie Purifoy

      Well, politics, philosophy, and theology are each well and good, but you’ve got to mix it up with some lighter weight genres (and by light weight, I mean genres that grow your brain cells without making them spin!). I’ve been enjoying spiritual memoir recently – Surprised by Oxford, by Carolyn Weber has been recommended to me recently, and I loved Ian Morgan Cron’s memoir, Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and Me.


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