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Posts Tagged ‘thanksgiving’

Perhaps that is when Thanksgiving

matters most—when you

walk the empty street alone,

scarred and scared and unsure.

That’s when giving thanks

becomes less of an abstract and more

like the way to take a next breath—

something that seems elusive, but

in fact it’s essential, and it’s right there,

just waiting for you to meet it,

to open yourself, to let it in.

Yes, for now it feels worthy of thanks

that the air is cool and clean and feels

good in the lungs, and the feet know

to walk you closer toward yourself

and the day holds you, holds you

in its soft gray arms, throws

a carpet of dry leaves at your feet,

suggests you keep walking into your life.

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Forty years later, my brother and I

go to the Jewel to buy evaporated milk

and egg nog, and part of me doubts

I will remember the way that we scoured

the produce aisle for green beans. Then again,

who could say why I remember

with incredible clarity the moments

when I was ten and we had just finished

the great turkey feast and my brother and I,

as we loved to do, asked to be excused,

but instead of leaving the dining room,

we simply lay on the floor beneath the table

with our feet up on our chairs

and conversed with each other

there across the green and white shag.

I don’t recall what we said or what we wore,

and it was no important moment, but

I remember the feel of it:

I knew we were together in this—

this moment, this family, this life,

so much so that forty years later

the memory of these ten minutes

is as real to me as the scent of the pumpkin pie

my sister-in-law baked tonight.

How is it that such a short snippet of time

defines us? How it comes to be

the moment we return to again and again

to remind ourselves who we are,

who we love, and why we are here—

those moments, stolen, and still

they give us back ourselves. Even now

in the produce aisle of Jewel, I can feel it—

the carpet against my cheek, can smell

the cranberry salad, can hear my grandfather

and grandmother laughing over our heads,

my brother’s eyes widening, mischievous, so alive.

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One Late November

 

 

beside the great lake

holding hands with the sun—

every step a thanksgiving

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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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Practice

 

 

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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Grace

 

 

 

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,

 

Rosemerry

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Thanksgiving

 

 

 

Today again

this longing

to pour joy

 

into your glass.

I can see you

are so thirsty.

 

The pitcher

never runs dry,

but sometimes,

 

distracted,

we forget to drink,

forget to pour

 

for ourselves

and for each other.

Here.

 

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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