Gratitude & the Importance of It: In Honor of Thanksgiving Day

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Below are three poems, all serving as a reminder of Thanksgiving day, a major tradition and holiday in the United States. We celebrate it through a feast and by closing companies and chores down so that we can spend time with family regardless of where they live.

The first two poems are entitled gratitude, for without it, our souls are lost. Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving for all yanks who are reading and those who aren’t but may be celebrating with American friends in the states or abroad.

I was walking the field,
in the fatness of spring
the field was flooded with water, water stained black,
black from the tissues of leaves, oak mostly, but also
beech, also
blueberry, bay.
Then the big hawk rose. In her eyes
I could see how thoroughly she
hated me. And there was her nest, like a round raft
with three white eggs in it, just
above the black water.

–Mary Oliver (born 1935)

Do not think I am not grateful for your small
kindness to me.
I like small kindnesses.
In fact I actually prefer them to the more
substantial kindness, that is always eying you
like a large animal on a rug,
until your whole life reduces
to nothing but waking up morning after morning
cramped, and the bright sun shining on its tusks.

–Louise Glück (born 1943)

And, a more traditional thanks, a poem done in the way of a prayer, a Thanksgiving prayer.

A Thanksgiving Poem & Prayer:

Thanks O Lord for thy daily food
Thanks to Thee for making us good
Thanks for thy shelter and keeping us fed
Thanks for thy drink and wholesome bread
Thanks for the seasons that come and go
Thanks for the flowers that bloom and grow
Thanks for the friends who help us in need
Thanks for the trials which make us succeed
Thanks for the children so dear and sweet
Thanks for the love which makes us complete
Thanks for the eyes in letting us see
Thanks for the mind in setting us free
Thanks for the music that touches our heart
Thanks for the muses that inspire our art
Thanks for the visions that reveal our goal
Thanks for the lessons that strengthen our soul
Thanks for the sleep that gives us the rest
Thanks for the sage who unfolds the Quest
Thanks for the sun so luminous and bright
Thanks for thy guidance and inner light
Thanks for the stars that sparkle and shine
Thanks for the peace that is thine and mine
Thanks for the kindness which you give
Thanks for thy Grace by which we live.

–Peter Y. Chou, Worcester, 1979

Photo from Gratitude CD Cover.

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