Posts Tagged ‘thanksgiving’




We begin by talking for an hour

about the kids, her church, dad’s health,

and how we both cry when we see acts of goodness.

We clean the kitchen. Address one mess

before starting the next. Then we peel apples,

marvel at their size—how much larger

they must be than in the time of Fanny Farmer,

who thinks we might need eight tart apples

for our nine-inch crust. Fanny, even a hundred years later,

you are still synonymous with precision,

organization and good food. And, as I recall,

you, too, practiced your art in your mother’s kitchen.

As it is, seven apples in 2018 are enough

to fill two generous crusts. Oh Fanny,

some things have changed, for instance

this Granny Smith, large as my fist. But some things

are exactly the same. A level teaspoon

is still a level teaspoon. The simplest recipes

are still often the best. And it’s still so good

to make a pie with your mother, talking

about all of life’s loose ends, measuring sugar,

filling the crusts, then cleaning up the mess

as the scent of sweetness touches everything.


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To be grateful not only for flower,

but also for mud, grime,

slug, slime, the dingy,

the filthy, the tired,

to be grateful not only for star

but also for what is prickly, thornsome,

tricky, testy, sore,

to be grateful not only for warmth

but also for the cold that holds it,

the chill, the bite, the nip, the freeze,

the breeze that blows always head on.

To not only say thanks, but live it.

To not only know thanks, but give it.




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One Thanksgiving




for those not around

the table, setting

a place in the heart

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Though the world is dented and dinged

and scuffed and scorned,

we trim the beans and peel the potatoes,

and the kitchen is warm and full

of laughter. We hum as we work

and break into scraps of song.

All day our hands are joyful

as they prepare the meal to come.

There are wars and battles even now,

not all of them fought with guns,

some waged intimately in our thoughts,

our scraped up hearts. And still,

this scent of apple pie, sweetening

as it bakes, this inner insistence

that love is not only possible,

it is every bit as real as our fear.

Whether the host has brought

out his best wine and his best crystal glasses

or water in chipped clay cups,

there is every reason

to be generous, to serve not only

our family, our friends, ourselves,

but also those we don’t yet know how to love

and those parts of ourselves we

have tried to keep separate.

Tonight the host has hidden bait

in the dinner—we all are caught.

Scent of sage, scent of mushrooms

and cream. The bite of cranberry.

Never mind the potatoes cooked too long.

Blessings seep into all the imperfect places,

even if you can’t name the blessings—

consider them secret ingredients.

The point is not to understand the feast,

but to eat, to eat it together.



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Here are two poems published today in Telluride Inside & Out.

Thanksgiving Poems

Wishing you grace all day, friends,



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Today again

this longing

to pour joy


into your glass.

I can see you

are so thirsty.


The pitcher

never runs dry,

but sometimes,



we forget to drink,

forget to pour


for ourselves

and for each other.



Though perhaps

we are strangers,

let me fill


your glass,

as others have

filled mine.


There is someone

who desperately

hopes you


will take a sip,

someone who needs

you to pour joy


into their empty cup.

Don’t worry

that it’s too late.


We all forget

how it works.

And then it arrives


again, the invitation

to pour and pour,

and pour, only to find


the pitcher still

miraculously full,

again this chance


to know what

it feels like to share

this bottomless joy.


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I wish every one of you a day, a whole lifetime of giving thanks. Here’s a poem from a few months back published online today in Telluride Inside about radical gratitude, the kind that just rises on its own, no matter what … Autumnal


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I hear America singing, varied carols I hear.
–Walt Whitman

After the mashed potatoes were passed
and after the wine was sipped from the glass
and after the children had left their plates
and before we were ready for pie and cake
we sat around the table and sang
Hotel California, Scarborough Fair,
Morning Has Broken, Walk the Line,
Blister in the Sun, Wild Mountain Thyme
Moon River and My Romance,
Blood on the Saddle, If I Were a Rich Man,
and the words we didn’t know we hummed
or we la-dee-dahed until we found
a phrase to lead us in again.
It’s so like music, gratitude,
the way it draws us closer in
and makes the world feel intimate,
as if anything could happen,
even peace, even love.

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After the last dishes are done
and before we start the next thing to do,
this is a favorite time with you,
when we are almost lost in the house,
a bit purposeless. Our bellies satisfied,
our children asleep. That is when
we might sit side by side
on the couch, and curl into each other.
We don’t have to say anything at all.
Every breath is a bridge.
I feel you crossing over.
Such a subtle perfume, but there
it is, the scent of gratitude.

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It wasn’t today.
The plane took off.
Flew. Landed.

My brother arrived.
He drove us
through eight lanes of traffic

to a beautiful home
where it was so easy
to hug, to laugh,

to eat, to remember,
to relax, to not even
think that it

might have gone
another way, so easy
to smile, to give thanks.

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