The Luster of Everyday Things: Pictures & Poetry Celebrating Life's Small Treasures & Simple Pleasures

The Luster of Everyday Things: Pictures & Poetry Celebrating Life's Small Treasures & Simple Pleasures

by Matthew Allen, Dr Matthew Allen


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Do you really value the objects around you or are they just "things" to you? The premise of this book is that part of the pleasure of life-contentment that we can cultivate no matter how much or how little we have-comes from the conscious appreciation of the beauty and the significance of everyday things. Through photographs and poems, the author takes you on a voyage of discovery through the world around you. You are shown, sometimes playfully and sometimes profoundly, that even the simplest of things-a shirt and tie, a kitchen colander, a closed door, or a blue butterfly-can have a shining beauty, secret story, and surprising meaning. Along the way, you are gently reminded that such objects deserve to be "warmed with much handling" and gazed upon with pleasure and gratitude as the tiny treasures they are.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781466999794
Publisher: Trafford Publishing
Publication date: 02/28/2014
Pages: 76
Product dimensions: 8.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.20(d)

Read an Excerpt

The Luster of Everyday Things

pictures & poetry celebrating life's small treasures & simple pleasures


Trafford Publishing

Copyright © 2014 Dr. Matthew Allen
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4669-9979-4


Natural Wonders

    Blue Voyageur

    A generous dollop
    of deep-sea blue,
    freckled and striped,
    perched on a pallet.

    Flexing wind-stiff wings
    like twin steel doors,
    folded as effortlessly
    as a winning hand.

    A bold adventurer posing
    in momentary stillness:
    jungle born but flitting
    between continents.

    Stretching languidly
    in the sun
    or spooling up
    to ride the wind.

    Resting on a friendly carpet
    or clinging
    to what holds it captive
    as we do.

    Fall Fashion

    Badge of courage,
    teardrop of God,
    Canadian melody,
    sinewy snowflake,
    flying fire,
    blood red bonus


    Luxurious Livery

    Dragoon with a white plume,
    ginger hair and peacock puff,
    scarlet cummerbund wound
    tightly round steel spine
    boasting golden braid.

    Flicking back and
    forth, and touching
    ever so
    lightly in the stream.

    Pausing deft-intently like a royal
    patiently exchanging pleasantries
    along a long receiving line or
    an assassin waiting
    in the wings.

True Confections

    Afternoon Tea

    Spinster's gin,
    empire's elixir,
    Chinese medicine,
    mystic's medium,
    temporary sanity.

    Yet, elevated to a daily ritual,
    humble tea may be
    a pleasure served in treasure:

    Sunbursts embroidered on white light,
    with cucumber sandwiches waiting in rows,
    plump scones lounging by strawberry mounds,
    and sugar bombs dropped from silver tongs.

    Cold Collation

    The best cold collation is

    still best
    and cold.

    A collection in name only;
    really a mix of mixed
    up things sliced ever so
    and accidently set apart

    Like tight

    and voluptuous showgirls

    Suddenly thrown together
    but keeping carefully apart
    on an elevator
    between floors.

    Sensual Delights

    Rose globules
    carefully clustered
    in a golden nest
    with feigned indifference

    Like a gaggle of
    naughty school girls
    parading lazily
    down the hall

    Or luscious lovers meeting,
    skin taught with expectation,
    waiting to explode
    with pleasure at a touch.

    Oh You Glorious

    Artery clogger
     laden with mayo,
    sprinkling grease on coffin lids;
     jamming fat
    into waiting widow-makers.

    Yet with no more
    insidious intent
     than a wayward
    piece of cheese.

    How happily unrepentant you are
     under your delicate
     white canopy
    Like a virgin bride awaiting consummation.

    Arabian Nights

    Sweet dark maiden
    of a thousand dusky dreams,

    You steal softly to my bed
    with silky sinuous embraces

    Intent solely on my pleasure,
    your perfume wafts me awake.

    Gently kissing my waiting lips,
    as I lay there
    between yesterday's fatigue
    and today's delight

    You tingle my limbs and
     send my heart soaring.

    You fill my drowsy body
    with fragrant new life:

    Electricity that turns
    and tumbles deep inside

    As the sun rises
    over your oval temple.

Household Goods

    Pink Flamingoes

    Pink flamingoes don't
    perch in my kitchen,
    let alone peck my table
    in the cool grey dawn.

    So, as I suck the dregs
    of my too-quick coffee,
    I am transfixed
    by the vision of
    a lean black flamingo
    hooking his umbrella head
    over a borrowed chair.

    "Is he hanging there?"
    I wonder:
    too poised, too balanced,
    standing lightly on his wooden toe.

    Parquet Palace
    Parquet Prison

    Can I give myself room
     to grow here
    in the shining confines
     of hardwood floor
    hemmed in by glass and
    locked away each day?

    Like everyone,
    I have needs:

    Water to soak
    my thirsty feet

    Breezes to exercise
    my stiff limbs

    Earth to anchor
    my shining trunk

    Sun to feed
    my waiting fingers

    For I must dive
    into dark loam

    Plant my searching feet
    in wet warm earth

    Drink deep from cold
    subterranean springs

    * * *

    So, dear keeper
    of the keys ...

    Bless my trembling fingers
    with waiting sunshaft
    for a moment

    Bounce my stiff arms
    in dancing breeze
    by the hour

    Bathe my starving toes
    with sweet water
    for all eternity.


    There is a hush—a palpable
     after the rush and
    fade into the still night air
    and silence sinks slowly in
     with gingerbread huffs
    of leisurely delight.

    I sit savoring
    the suddenly
    hollow wholeness
    of a cooling room

    Like a cat by a blue bowl
    about to lap milk
    silently, precisely
    with its pale pink tongue.

Written Off

    Word Processing

    Brave I stand, facing the future,
    secure in superior
    Information Technology:

    Better than laser jet for readability,
    VISA-clear and user-friendly,
    booted up far beyond
    brutal BIC and puerile pencil.

    A slim cylinder of onyx and gold
    encasing pump and feeder;
    elegantly etched, conveniently clipped.

    A lifetime of poise and precision
    at the risk of purple fingers.

    Hello, My Old Friend ...

    Ever-patient listener,
    wide white horizon,
    sole honest broker,
    deft probing therapist.

    Hard to look in the face sometimes:

    Like a disobedient husband
    returning to a faithful wife,
    I come back to you each morning,
    pen in hand instead of roses.

    I Love the Buzz

    I love the buzz of poetry in my brain:
    the rocking, thrusting dazzle of delight,
    the slow tingling tranquility of drowsy drug,
    the sweet shyness of suggested meaning,
    the jolting alpine air of sudden discovery,
    the careful cut and paste of satisfying play.

    But the buzz is best together, like the small
    sensuous ceremony of martinis made for two.

Strange Attire

The Ties That Bind

Nooses loosened
in the bright
night air.

These gaily
rings of power
and paisley pleasure:

Striped regimentals
and school colours.

Preppy pink confections
singular in silk.

Mysterious maroon
and blue horizons.

Flashes of gold
and crimson dashes.

Flags and badges
cut and trimmed
like waxed mustaches.

Vestigial feathers
borne or flaunted
through the day

Only to be
so gladly

    Shoes & Shocks

    So ... the other shoe has finally
    with a hollow

    Slap, bounced once,
    and laid itself down
    beside its
    slightly jaded mate

    Tilting jauntily
    at the ceiling,
    wearing its warm
    insides rakishly

    Relaxing for once,
    as one
    of a curious couple
    getting ready for bed.

    Surreptitious Servants

    Snaking ever so silently around
    constantly complaining waists.

    Dangling languidly from well-wrought wrists
    as inevitable rainbow sculptures.

    Clutching firmly to our out-stretched arms
    like anxious children in a crowd.

    Encompassing carefully our fragile feet
    with trimly tailored splints.

    Faithfully accompanying us on all our journeys,
    capacious companions made of sterner stuff.

    Oblivious to all distractions like bodyguards
    or fashion models on purposeful parade.

    These surreptitious servants
    standing silently by our side.

    Cow skin tanned and turned to
    glossy impervious perfection.

    The Watch That Ends the Night

    Ticking contentedly
    like a healthy heart

    Pulsing with rhythm
    like a born musician

    Marking the minutes
    like a faithful scribe

    Booking our appointments
    like a silent secretary

    Tracking our travel
    like an oval odometer

    Dividing our days
    like invisible bookends

    Completing our wardrobe
    like an attentive butler

    Wearing its jewels
    from the inside out

    Waving its hands
    with delicate decorum

    Counting down to eternity.

    Rat Pack Revisited

    Blowing smoke and tilting
    our fedoras undaunted
    at the dawn

    Still jaunty after a night
    of cards and carousing
    and boozy bravado

    Marching out to
    meet the morning
    freshly creased

    Smiling style.

    New Plumage

    Old clothes, hanging in a closet,
    quiet as a mortuary,
    —washed, sorted, tagged—
    awaiting final disposal:

    Baggy grey flannels,
    flapping like a breeze-blown tent.

    Cracked black brogues,
    eroded by a thousand silent paces.

    Yards of drab tapestry
    draped shapelessly over dented

    The shirt she gave you;
    another with the old school crest.

    Someone's pinching pinstripe suit;
    running shoes embarrassingly

    Relics of old allegiances,
    flags of faded love,
    mementoes of good intentions.

    Peel them off
    like a snake shedding
    its skin.

    Leave them behind
    like a lizard losing its

    Grow new plumage
    and fly brightly


Excerpted from The Luster of Everyday Things by MATTHEW ALLEN. Copyright © 2014 Dr. Matthew Allen. Excerpted by permission of Trafford Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


Foreword: the purpose of the book, vii,
Natural Wonders, 1,
Blue Voyageur, 3,
Fall Fashion, 5,
Luxurious Livery, 7,
True Confections, 9,
Afternoon Tea, 11,
Cold Collation, 13,
Sensual Delights, 15,
Oh You Glorious, 17,
Arabian Nights, 19,
Household Goods, 21,
Pink Flamingoes, 23,
Parquet Palace, 25,
Silencio, 29,
Written Off, 31,
Word Processing, 33,
Hello, My Old Friend, 35,
I Love the Buzz, 37,
Strange Attire, 39,
The Ties That Bind, 41,
Shoes & Shocks, 43,
Surreptitious Servants, 45,
The Watch That Ends the Night, 47,
Rat Pack Revisited, 49,
New Plumage, 51,
Found in Odd Places, 53,
Cathedral Closed, 56,
Part Way There, 59,
Nuns Fret Not, 61,
Afterword: acquisition & appreciation, 63,
Acknowledgements: of art and eros, 66,
About the Author, 67,

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