Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Form of Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving poem might seem a bit on the cynical side, but it isn't meant to be. Really, I was looking at myself and thinking about how I have sometimes looked at Thanksgiving, especially the idea of gratitude on a certain day of the year. In the end, thanksgiving is a year 'round kind of thing and it's pretty imperfect, like the cranberry stain on the linen. Imperfect, yet an "ingredient" that transforms all of life. And that's something that's worth standing for.
Thanksgiving takes the form of a list,
Often if not always. "I am thankful
For A,B,C and a portion of grist!"
"Tick", "check", "yup" and "Oh, me too!" we answer.
List completed, we toss and move on.

Thanksgiving takes the form of reproach
For the pure who want you to know it,
Using words like, "really" and "truly" and
"You aren't thankful enough (you little git)."
Pat, pat, pat on my back and move on.

Thanksgiving takes the form of a rite,
Genuflections before old recipes;
Some families make room for a fight,
Football and mass sofa napping.
Carve up the leftovers and move on.

Thanksgiving takes the form of a life,
Imperfect and American round here.
It shows like cranberry on white linen.
Or like the secret ingredient? "Dear
God, I hope so. Every day. Stand there.

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