Monday, November 25, 2013

Monday Poetry Stretch - Thanksgiving

Well, this week is a no-brainer. Let's write about thanks, Thanksgiving, gratitude, or anything that resembles thankfulness.

For a bit of inspiration you might want to check out these links.
Thanksgiving Poems at
The Cranberry Cantos at The Poetry Foundation

I hope you'll join me this week in writing a poem of thanks. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.


  1. This is a poem I've shared before, but in an earlier draft. I started this four years ago and, after many revisions, have reached an equilibrium point. Writing this poem has taught me a lot about keeping a poem's heart intact without being overly sentimental. I'm thankful for the lesson.


    Under the right whale bones
    breaching the blue ceiling
    of the echoing Aquarium,
    a waddle of rockhopper penguins,
    tufted punks from the South Pole,
    skrawks in a raucous chorus
    as a feeder wades in wetsuited,
    floating a bucket of tiny fish
    for their lunch. And Marin,
    who is four, watches them
    through the low glass partition
    with an aquarist’s rigor,
    her mirrored mouth mimicking each
    grab and gulp of open orange beak.
    She presses against me
    as they drop from rock to rock,
    clumsy on their bird-feet,
    until one, and then another, slips
    without a splash into the cool pool
    that passes here for home,
    their cold and southern sea.
    I name them Water-glider,
    Tidal-feather, Torpedo, and
    We trace their loops and interlaces
    and laugh as a pudgy male
    bobs his bottle-body up
    onto the lip of a slick stone slab,
    upsetting an overbending hen.
    After, we wander toward tanks
    that hold cuttlefish, anemones,
    lampreys, leafy sea dragons
    practicing camouflage
    among the fluorescent fronds.
    Behind us, the hoppers chatter on,
    clap their wings against their sides.
    I want to turn and applaud, but
    Marin has spied some mollusk shells,
    and we give thanks to them.

    © 2013 Steven Withrow, all rights reserved

  2. Blessings

    What about when things are really bad?
    What does it take on those days—to be glad
    for small things when something big looms
    like a house about to fall on you, leaving
    nothing but shoes, or like you’re Wiley Coyote,
    feet spinning and face turning in quick
    new panic? Then how do you find
    the blessings to count? When a myriad
    seems like a small amount? When fear
    piles on fear and darkness blooms
    like black tulips in a dim garden?

    You must start with your hand,
    the balled fist of it or the straight stretch,
    each finger a blessing of cleverness,
    turning and grasping the goodness of a leaf,
    a baseball, an orange, a pen, another hand.
    Then move on to your eyes. Watch the line
    of the mountains and the light caught
    on their shoulders in the morning. That
    is a big blessing. And the sky, big enough
    to hold most hearts. But first
    reach out your hand, with its beautiful bend
    of fingers. Count to five. Start there.

    —Kate Coombs, 2013
    all rights reserved

    1. Nice, Kate. I like the questions-and-answers structure of this, and how the images wander until solidifying with the hand. Happy Thanksgiving!

    2. Thanks, Steven! You, too!


    Mom and Dad can’t afford to miss work, too much holiday pay to be had,
    Too many bills mounted on our slanted kitchen table. I visit Aunt Franzie’s
    House for Thanksgiving. She lives by herself, never married, a menagerie of birds, dogs and cats are her children. She makes her own clothes, grows her own food, answers to one except herself. My parents toss out words like eccentric spinster. I counter with words like awesomely self -sufficient. She doesn’t care what anybody thinks, I am the opposite. What I did inherit from her was a distaste of animals. I get massive amounts of guff for this. Mom, Dad, my best friend Stacy, all roll their eyes when I politely say “No thank you,” when they offer me food or drink that offends my morals, as if I’m going to say “Yes” out of nowhere to prove them right. When I arrive at Aunt Franzie’s she hugs me, kisses my forehead says “C’mon kiddo, drop those bags, wash your hands and let’s eat.” For supper we have a non-turkey turkey called Tofurky with golden gravy on a bed of greens, kale salad with cashews, homemade cranberry sauce and apple crisp with non-dairy organic rice cream. I tell her about holding on to my ethics despite people’s sarcasm, how much it hurts me. She nods, tucking into another portion of vegan goodness, says, “It hurt me too when I was your age. All you can do is forgive them babe, do your thing, be strong.” A week later I got a package in the mail, an aqua blue shirt with sparkles that said:
    Tree hugging, Peace loving, Pre-teen hippie.
    There was also a note: Wear it proud babe. Luv Franzie. Mom, Dad, even Stacy saw the shirt and smiled. Next day at school a group of students saw me wearing my new prized possession, snorted, then said, “That shirt is corny.” I smiled; said “Thank you” and kept walking, leaving them open mouthed, A look of confusion on their faces.

    (c) Charles Waters 2013 all rights reserved.

  4. Charles, love this memory and the way you tell it.