Peninsula Poetry: Barbara Larsen

curated by the Door County Poets Collective

Barbara Larsen believes in the power and truth of poetry and its ability to connect with the hearts and minds of readers. Much of her work is inspired by the natural beauty that surrounds her in Door County. She finds the constant changes of sky and water each day to be endlessly fascinating. Family memories and humorous incidents in her life also find their way into words. Many of her poems have a strong philosophical bent.

She has earned a number of literary awards, including the Wisconsin Regional Writers’ Jade Ring Prize for Excellence in Poetry. Her poems have appeared in numerous publications and have won first place and honorable mentions in the Peninsula Pulse’s annual writing contest, the Hal Prize.

Active in the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets for many years, Larsen now concentrates on the poetry activities of Door County and was honored to be chosen as the first living poet laureate of Door County. Ten books have been published since her retirement, the latest being Poet’s Nest: Journal Entries and Poems.

The Sanctity of Ordinary Things

by Barbara Larsen

There is something wonderful about

sand and water, parks and shade trees,

tang of fresh rhubarb sauce

and a supper of macaroni and cheese.

There is great comfort in being able to pull on

the stretched out sweater and pants

hiding out from the Goodwill box

in the dark closet, without disturbing

your sleeping partner with a light.

There is a most tender feeling about

friends’ voices and old shared jokes,

family photographs upon the bureau,

crayoned people with huge heads

and long dangling legs on the fridge.

Old letters, dog-eared books,

Grandma’s chipped bowl, your mom’s

clip-on earrings at the bottom of a drawer,

using your father’s worn hammer —

all ties to what is stable, what is good.

While screens flicker with raging wars,

terrorist attacks, shriveling liberties

and starving masses, we seek refuge

in the sanctity of ordinary things.

Peninsula Poetry is a monthly column curated by the Door County Poets Collective, a 12-member working group that was formed to publish Soundings: Door County in Poetry (Caravaggio Press, 2015) and continues to meet.