Tag Archives: Thanksgiving poem

#230: A Poem of Gratitude

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Happy Thanksgiving, America.

Here’s a skinny but long
list of things
for which I am grateful:
It’s not January.
I could do without
the heavy rain making
a mud bath of the lawn,
but at least, the leaves are
finally out of the yard.
My son is healthy and,
as far as I can tell, happy.
It bears repeating:
It’s not January.
My wife is cancer free.
Our moms and my brother
and sister in-law
will be with us tonight,
and the rest of my siblings
will be with us in spirit,
celebrating in their own homes
with their large families.
Poetry exists, by the way,
and music, and the
gratitude I feel for both
is immeasurable.
I am gainfully employed,
well-housed, well-read and fed.
I want for nothing
and I know these are
privileges that I did little
to earn or deserve
except for some hard
work here and there,
most of which I enjoyed
so that it hardly counts.
My suffering, all of it,
totally explicable,
you know, in that I’ve
never been a victim
of violence, of oppression,
of extreme prejudice,
disaster or of some
inhospitable accident
or disease.
My little suffering:
only the usual loss
that comes with living
and from time to time
being stupid or selfish
and failing. I’m grateful
for all of that, about what
I learned, how I changed,
and how comparatively
easy it was to recover.
When I think of those
who have less and have
suffered more than I
can imagine, for
them, again, I say:
It’s not January.
I am grateful and
hopeful that there
may still be time
to turn this ship around,
if not before 2017,
soon, soon, soon.

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Filed under Poetry, Self Reflection

#63: Pilgrims at the Table

The fiction

The fiction

Pilgrims at the Table

I understand that on the first Thanksgiving
there was no meal between Pilgrims and Indians,
there was no peaceful gathering around a turkey
or anything in particular having to do with corn,
but rather, John Winthrop’s declaration of a
“day of thanksgiving” when he received the news
that 700 Pequot Indians had been massacred
during a mercenary midnight raid.
And so on this Thanksgiving I must divorce
myself from the history of it, the reframing
or re-mix narrative that has come down to us
from the days we were children as pure jingoistic
propaganda, and instead, because I don’t watch
sports, I will share some food and drink with my family
and give thanks for that and for the privilege I enjoy
but mostly did not earn, and I will try not to feel
guilty and I will try not to eat or drink too much.
Our mothers are still alive and our son is healthy
and we want for nothing.  There is much to be thankful for,
after all, even without the Pilgrims at the table.

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Filed under Culture, Poetry