As “America’s Favorite Holiday” approaches, most of us are already at the mercy of recipes or travel plans. The anticipated joys and anxieties of this week are many, and while they may take up the lion’s share of our brain space, Christine Gelineau’s poem startles us into making room for everyday gratitude.  Slip into its coziness and remember to save it for a rainy day. It reminds us that while on this coming Thursday we may list to ourselves the great joys and privileges that come with living in a democracy, there is not a day when something simple doesn’t stand ready to lead us into thanksgiving.

List for a Blue Day

by Christine Gelineau

I look to the ease of ordinary things, the grace of dailiness:

the fresh pleasure of lined paper and a new pen;

the sure glide of the car uncurling from a tight parking space;

the radiant hum and heat of the young in classrooms, hallways, seeking, ripe;

the juice of poetry;

the bright geometry of towels stacked in the closet, or spoons nested in the drawer,

the effervescent arrhythmia of the store clerk’s song while he believes himself alone;

shoes quietly in closets, under beds, shaped by what they’ve known and may know again;

the sleek containment of locust seeds, unblinking black eyes in their silvered pods;

the image Milt invokes for us of Jerusalem’s Western Wall, tongues of language in the
{fill}  crevices, stones flickering into prayer;

the smudge of earth’s shadow stroking the moon’s complete patience: slow rapture as if,

at that remove, our touch were infinitely tender;

the lane markers, like geese in chevrons as I skim home in the center lane, coasting the
{fill}  updrafts;

the green float of speedometer numerals in the dark before me:  miles melt at that
{fill}  temperature, and I am sailing into our village;

the nubble of flannel, warmed sheets, electric, and the fit, ah, the fit of our bodies
{fill}  together.

I will always know this.


                                                            From Remorseless Loyalty, The Ashland Poetry Press. 
Copyright © 2006 by Christine Gelineau.  Reprinted with the poet’s permission. 


Christine Gelineau is the assistant director of the Creative Writing Program at SUNY Binghamton, where she teaches literature.  She also teaches creative writing in the low-residency MA/MFA Writing Program at Wilkes University.  She lives with her husband on a farm in upstate New York where they raise Morgan horses.  She has won the Richard Snyder Publication Prize for Remorseless Loyalty and most recently published a stunning full-length book of poetry called Appetite for the Divine, also from Ashland Poetry Press.  She has published poetry and essays widely and has a poem in the Pushcart Prize Anthology published this month. 



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  • Diane Dettmann November 18, 2012 at 9:16 am

    Christine, your “List for a Blue Day” poem helps put life in a meaningful perspective. There are so many everyday experiences that we overlook in our busy lives. Your poem is a wonderful reminder to us to wake up to the moment and find joy in it. Thank you!

  • Tobysgirl November 18, 2012 at 7:06 am

    I want to urge all women — I feel like I’m speaking into the void — to stop driving themselves crazy over holidays and learn to enjoy them. I can’t believe how many people say I’m so glad it’s (Thanksgiving, Christmas) over. If you can’t stand your family, stay home and dine with those you love and can be at peace with. If travel plans make you frenetic, stay home! If cooking is too much, eat out or make something simple. Why can’t we realize we have choices?

    I cannot imagine giving thanks for getting out of a parking space, but the seeds in a pod, the sun peeping over the trees on a cold morning, the grinning faces of old doggies, and hot clean water to bathe in, for these I give thanks.