No Ordinary Time – a poem by Thomas R. Smith

No Ordinary Time

Growing older, I try harder to catch
the grace of each moment, remain in the world
despite the constant flooding of thoughts
that sweep us down their jagged arroyo
toward the end of moments as we know them.

The church distinguishes between the high
holy seasons of the birth and death of Christ
and “ordinary time.” I have struggled
against the dictates of the secular mind
to linger in the forcefield of the divine,

resisted the fall into the profane and
unremarkable, grey hatching by which we
count our cell-wall days. But what if there is
no ordinary time, but only our failure
to awaken to sacred existence?

Then these celebrations are places in
the heart irrespective of calendar
and clock, openings to divine love
which is also our human love. Not
moments of time at all, but states of soul

to which longing restores us whenever
our memory of union breaks the trance
of the habitual. Can it be that,
at any point on those lonely miles we drove,
had we known it, we could have been home?


Thomas R. Smith lives in Wisconsin, USA, and have seven published collections so far, and was included in Diamond Cutters, edited by Jay Ramsay and Andrew Harvey. He has also edited several books, most recently Airmail, the correspondence of Robert Bly and Tomas Tranströmer, published in the UK by Bloodaxe. Windy Day at Kabekona: New and Selected Prose Poems was published in 2018. His first prose book, Poetry on the Side of Nature: Writing the Nature Poem as an Act of Survival, is forthcoming from Folded Word Press in 2020.

1 Comment

  1. Marilyn Grant says:

    This poem touches my soul, and the last question is so powerful!


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