Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving Poem

Thanksgiving Day

Thanksgiving Day is
     for lizards that scuttle over logs,
     big-bellied spiders that creep in my woodpile,
     fungus that forms a bright wedge of slime.
Thanksgiving Day is
     for life in every corner,
     wet cells sucking nourishment, giving birth,
     teeming through every grain of earth.

We drink water once swallowed by Jesus,
breathe atoms once blown by Buddha,
share the light of stars
     with unknown beings
     on undiscovered planets.
For this light, this water and air,
     this brotherhood
     of countless souls
I give thanks.

I wrote this poem after visiting my wet woodpile on Thanksgiving Day, November 25, 1982.  I showed the new poem to a friend and was shocked when he said it was "dark" and "creepy."  I meant it as a celebration of life.  Most of my firewood consists of construction scraps from something I was either building or demolishing — and then burning.  The same atoms, cycling endlessly...

(Update: I was going to post the poem on Thanksgiving Day, but at the last moment once again I thought it would be too dark and creepy.  In the light of a new day — and much too late — here it is.)

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