I have many things to be thankful for this year. First, that I am alive and cancer-free. Second, for my incredible family and friends who not only have buoyed me on this insane rapid-shoot, but who remind me again and again of how lucky we poets and artists are, to be able to do the work we do. Third...
Well, I could go on and on.
I think most people, if they stop and breathe and think for a minute, can come up with a list like this. We are good at remembering the big stuff. It is, after all, the big stuff. What is more difficult is to be mindful of the smaller bounty we receive every day, the "simple gifts" of the Shaker hymn that enrich us, the things that we take for granted and so almost always overlook.
For me, these are things like strong coffee with cream in it, being able to sing, my animals, the way frozen grass crunches under my shoes, hot baths in my old clawfoot bathtub, getting back my curly hair, birds at the window feeder, The New York Times Sunday crossword puzzle, cookies (any variety), colored Sharpie pens...and a million others. What are yours?
Here are two gifts from me to you. Happy Thanksgiving, I say. You're on my gratitude list, too, you know.
by Marilyn Nelson
Thank you for these tiny particles of ocean salt, pearl-necklace viruses, winged protozoans: for the infinite, intricate shapes of submicroscopic living things. For algae spores and fungus spores, bonded by vital mutual genetic cooperation, spreading their inseparable lives from equator to pole. My hand, my arm, make sweeping circles. Dust climbs the ladder of light. For this infernal, endless chore, for these eternal seeds of rain: Thank you. For dust.
from The Fields of Praise, New and Selected Poems, LSU Press, 1997