Don’t Expect Applause

One of my absolute favorite poems.

I share it in my yoga classes and now with you here.


Don’t Expect Applause

And yet, wouldn’t it be welcome

At the end of the each ordinary day?

The audience could be small, the theater modest,

Folding chairs in the church basement would do,

Just a short, earnest burst of applause

That you got up that morning

And one way or another you made it through the day

You soaked up in the steaming shower

Drank your Starbucks in the car

And let the guy with the windex wipe your windshield

At the long red light at broad street.

Or maybe you were that guy, not daring to light up as you stood there because everyone’s so down on smoking these days.

Or you kissed your wife as she hurried out the door,

Even though you were pretty sure she was meeting her lover

At the flamingo motel,

Even though you wanted to grab her by a hank of her sleek hair.

Maybe your son’s in jail, your daughter’s stopped eating

And your husband’s still dead this morning,

Just like he was yesterday and the day before that.

And yet you put on your shoes and go for a walk

And when a neighbor says good morning

You say good morning back.

Would a round of applause be amiss?

Even if you weren’t good, if you yelled at your kid

Poisoned the ants, drank too much,

And said that really stupid thing you promised yourself you wouldn’t say.

Even if you don’t deserve it.


What are your thoughts? Wouldn’t it be nice at the end of an ordinary day?

6 thoughts on “Don’t Expect Applause

    • @maria: i LOVE the idea of an acceptance speech to our daily loves!

      i would thank my unbelieveably understanding husband, my supportive girlfriends, my hard working/sweet/funny/endearing students (little ones), my lovely yoga students…. you may really be on to something here!

  1. A week with Mark in the hospital and now on the mend brings a veil of uncried tears behind my eyes, unsolicited. This poem touches me more now than ever. Thank you for sharing it- I will regain perspective but this poem definitely helps.

    • @robin: huge hugs to you. big applause to you. it’s hard having a loved one in the hospital and recovering, even for the caregiver. shhhh, don’t tell anyone, but i’d argue especially for the caregiver. so i am applauding you now.

      grab some tissue and go have yourself a big cathartic cry and watch the video. ellen rocks this poem even better than i do.

      big love to you and mark.

  2. Perfect! Simple! Just what I needed… an applause would be wonderful.

    Everyday we make steps toward an attempt at happiness. Sometimes we achieve and other times we fail. Either way, it would be pretty cool to take a bow.


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