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The Zen Of Housework

  • I look over my shoulder
  • down my arms
  • to where they disappear under water
  • into hands inside pink rubber gloves
  • moiling among dinner dishes.
  • My hands lift a wine glass,
  • holding it by the stem and under the bowl.
  • It breaks the surface
  • like a chalice
  • rising from a medieval lake.
  • Full of the grey wine
  • of domesticity, the glass floats
  • to the level of my eyes.
  • Behind it, through the window
  • above the sink, the sun, among
  • a ceremony of sparrows and bare branches,
  • is setting in Western America.
  • I can see thousands of droplets
  • of steam — each a tiny spectrum — rising
  • from my goblet of grey wine.
  • They sway, changing directions
  • constantly — like a school of playful fish,
  • or like the sheer curtain
  • on the window to another world.
  • Ah, grey sacrament of the mundane!

Al Zolynas spent his boyhood in Australia before coming to the United States when he was 15. He taught literature and writing at Alliant International University (formerly USIU) for many years. An experienced Zen practitioner, he has recently begun teaching at Zen Center San Diego. “The Zen of Housework” is from The New Physics, published by Wesleyan University Press. The entire book can be read online at capa.conncoll.edu/zolynas.phys.htm. The poem is published by permission. Photo credit: Arlie Zolynas.

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  • I look over my shoulder
  • down my arms
  • to where they disappear under water
  • into hands inside pink rubber gloves
  • moiling among dinner dishes.
  • My hands lift a wine glass,
  • holding it by the stem and under the bowl.
  • It breaks the surface
  • like a chalice
  • rising from a medieval lake.
  • Full of the grey wine
  • of domesticity, the glass floats
  • to the level of my eyes.
  • Behind it, through the window
  • above the sink, the sun, among
  • a ceremony of sparrows and bare branches,
  • is setting in Western America.
  • I can see thousands of droplets
  • of steam — each a tiny spectrum — rising
  • from my goblet of grey wine.
  • They sway, changing directions
  • constantly — like a school of playful fish,
  • or like the sheer curtain
  • on the window to another world.
  • Ah, grey sacrament of the mundane!

Al Zolynas spent his boyhood in Australia before coming to the United States when he was 15. He taught literature and writing at Alliant International University (formerly USIU) for many years. An experienced Zen practitioner, he has recently begun teaching at Zen Center San Diego. “The Zen of Housework” is from The New Physics, published by Wesleyan University Press. The entire book can be read online at capa.conncoll.edu/zolynas.phys.htm. The poem is published by permission. Photo credit: Arlie Zolynas.

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Comments
1

this is just so nice...u weave a beauty into dishwashing with ease...thank u very much!!

June 6, 2012

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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