Daily rites and ordinary rituals

The Inner History of a Day 

John O’Donohue, 1956-2008, Irish



No one knew the name of this day; 

Born quietly from deepest night,





Deep Sky, 1984, aquatints.

  James Turrell, American light architect and artist, born 1943.  National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC



It hid its face in light, 





Sun:  lithograph and screenprint, 1976. 

David Hockney, born 1937, British.  National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC




Demanded nothing for itself,

Opened out to offer each of us 




Escalator made for the renovation of the headhouse of Penn Station, New York, 2021,

whose former, magnificent Beaux Arts headhouse was demolished in 1963 in a misguided urban renovation plan.




A field of brightness which traveled ahead 





Escalator made for the renovation of Penn Station, New York, 2021

whose former, magnificent Beaux Arts headhouse was demolished in 1963 in a misguided urban renovation plan. 




Providing in time, ground to hold our steps



And the light of thought to show the way.




Ceramic mural, Philadelphia




The mind of the day draws no attention;

It dwells within the silence with elegance





Morning, Interior, 1890, oil on canvas.

Maximilian Luce, 1858-1941, French. Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY 




To create a space for all our words





A Man at his Morning Toilette, 1887, oil on canvas. 

Maximilian Luce,1858-1941, French.  Loaned by the Petit Palais, Geneva to MOMA, NY in 2020






Morning Ritual, 2016, mixed media on canvas.

Mickayel Thurin, American, born 1987. On display at the Woodmere Museum of Art, Philadelphia in 2017




Drawing us to listen inward and outward.

We seldom





Summer, 1972, oil on canvas. 

John Moore, American born 1941.  Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, Philadelphia




notice how each day is a holy place






Night Life, oil on board. 

Carolyn Prue, MFA 2017 submission at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia. No other information.




Where the eucharist of the ordinary happens,







Mound of Butter, oil on canvas, 1875-85. 

Antoine Vollon, 1833-1900, French.  National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC




Transforming our broken fragments






Egg Beater, before 1973, oil on canvas. 

Louis de Mayo, American born 1926.  Woodmere Museum, Philadelphia




Into an eternal continuity that keeps us. Somewhere






Egg Beater V and detail, 1930, oil on canvas. 

Stuart Davis, 1892-1964, American.  MOMA, NY






Egg Beater No. 4, 1928, oil on canvas.  

Stuart Davis, 1892-1964, American.   Phillips Collection, Washington, DC




in us a dignity presides

That is more gracious than the smallness





English Magpie Eating Cake, 1865, oil on canvas. 

Rubens Peale, American, 1784-1865.  Philadelphia Art Museum




That fuels us with fear and force

A dignity that trusts the form a day takes.

So at the end of this day, we give thanks






Portrait of Ruth Smith (1905-2003), the Artist’s Mother Sitting at a Table, 1964, oil on canvas. 

Edith Neff, 1943-1995.Woodmere Musuem of Art.

A Russian Jewish emigree from the Ukraine when she was 16, she worked as a bookkeeper and factory worker in a clothing factory.  She continued her support of her family when her husband died in 1957. 



For being betrothed to the unknown





Silhouette, 2021, white charcoal on black paper

Vanessa Pasqualone. BFA program at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Arts, Philadelphia




And for the secret work





Reflecting on the Day, 1924, oil on canvas. 

Pierre Bonnard, 1867-1947, French. Private collection on display at MOMA, NY in 2020




Through which the mind of the day








Ericksons, 1973, tempera on hardboard panel,

Andrew Wyeth, 1917-2007, American.  Loaned by a private collection to the Brandywine River Museum, 2017




And wisdom of the soul become one.









2 thoughts on “Daily rites and ordinary rituals

  1. I am grateful this night for these visual/word meditations. I am carrying them to bed with me.
    Thank you.

    1. I am with you on this, Susannah.

      I remember this poem when I awake. This came to me when I was thinking of the disrupted lives of millions in wars and sudden catastrophes. Sarah

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