Sometimes in life it is easy to take the small things for granted. The poem, “ordinary life” by Barbara cooker is subject to irony, starting from the first line to the last. The behavior of the children, the activities of the speaker, and the seasonal characteristics of the day, all prove to be more than “ordinary’: they are Like “an unexpected gift” for the speaker and her family. Ordinarily the children are reluctant to leave for school, but on this day they go “without a murmur” and remember to take their “books, lunches, and gloves”.
At dinner, the usual “bickering” and “poking” ceases long enough for the parents to enjoy “actual conversation” which Is obviously rare. In addition to the children’s behavior, the mother’s routine Is slightly different than usual. For Instance, the speaker does not have time to complete “Jobs that never get done”. However, on this day she Is able to “clean… The kitchen cupboards” Instead of the usual messes. Her usual kitchen routine also Includes preparing food, but today is different in that she has cut the vegetables “without paring [her] thumb”
Lastly, the scene outside the speaker’s home also reflects a difference from the ordinary. In the “dead of winВ« the speaker is surprised to see pheasants, and other birds at the feeder. The sky has “unwrapped” a crescent moon which is a “sliver of white” on this “day of grace”. Despite the speaker’s opinion that this has been an ordinary day, we see that it has been anything but typical. Small pleasures can be overshadowed by routine, but are remarkable in their own way. The poem demonstrates that this particular day is anything but ordinary.