Poetry Friday – Giving Thanks

It’s Poetry Friday and Ruth is rounding up the posts for us and gave us a beautiful “Ode to Taxonomy.”

I was in Columbus last week for NCTE. I was delighted to see Poetry Friday friends Margaret Simon, Laura Purdie Salas, Laura Shovan, Mary Lee Hahn, and Heidi Mordhorst. I didn’t take pictures very often, but I did get this one after Laura signed her sweet Finding Family book for me.

Thankful and Questioning

The last love letter I write will say
thank you for this life,
the whole of it–
the spilling of Thanksgiving dressing in the oven
the wrapping yarn in a ball
the sore wrist that makes using the yarn difficult
the coyotes moaning and howling in the early hours
the morning hugs in the kitchen with my partner
the foamy milk on my cup of tea this fine day

The last love letter I write will ask
questions, questions like
Who decided the one with the most money gets the most power?
What has bewitched us that made love low on the priority list?
When will justice and peace come?
Where are the helpers?
Why do some grandchildren die in war?
How can you sort through all this mess?

14 thoughts on “Poetry Friday – Giving Thanks

  1. Ah Denise, I have two poems to juxtapose and will give the “last love letter” a try, so thank you. Here’s the union:
    “…it’s the greening of the tress/that really gets to me”
    “There are, on this planet alone, something like two/million naturally occurring sweet things,/…Think of that…/My color’s green./I’m spring.”
    (Thanks to Ada Limon’s “Instructions on Not Giving Up and Ross Gay’ “Sorrow is Not My Name.”)
    Every one of our twenty six letters have all that love potential.

  2. Wow! You get right to the heart of life and love in these two stanzas. They read so gently…and yet they are strong in the first, weighty in the second. This is a beautiful and reflective Thanksgiving poem…but it really doesn’t let any of us off the hook. We need to stay engaged and continue. Awesome poem.

  3. Your poem captures the essence of lifebecause in the end, its the little things, the gestures that matter. You also pose some great imponderables that so trouble our hearts and minds. A wholy reflective poem that provokes further thought and discussion. Thank you, Denise

  4. It was great to see you, too, even for a brief moment. Great photo with LPS! I always wish I could be cloned at NCTE and be everywhere. So many good things to do and see and people to be with. Your Thanksgiving letter is full of heart. Happy Holidays.

  5. I just finished reading Gregory Orr’s THE LAST LOVE POEM I WILL EVER WRITE (thank you, Jama, for the peek you gave us)! The way you turn that into a poem that’s a last letter is brilliant. Like Linda said, the thankful stanza contrasts sharply with the questions stanza, but that’s life, isn’t it? We live in the small personal moments, but our hearts break for all we cannot change.

    It was GREAT to see you IRL at NCTE!

  6. Denise, thank you for sharing this poem. I think that thankfulness and questioning go together. It’s that “Yes, but…” moment that we all have. The first three lines of your poem are a powerful reminder of all we have.

  7. Denise, your poem has such descriptive imagery as “the coyotes moaning and howling in the early hours.” The questions were probing, especially “When will justice and peace come? ” I am so glad that you were able to enjoy NCTE. Some day, I shall return.
    Onward to peace and thanksgiving this weekend.

  8. Denise, I love that your love letter is one of thanksgiving. Amidst the questions and heartbreak, you remind us to look up, look around, and acknowledge our blessings.

  9. I saw that wonderful picture, Denise! What fun NCTE is. I loved it every time I got to go. Your poem seems fitting for this ‘Thanksgiving’ time of year, many spectacular noticing of what brings you joy and those questions that continue to cry for answers. It’s a thought-filled poem, marvelous.

  10. Denise, thank you for sharing that picture! NCTE was a blur, but I’m happy we at least got to meet in person, however briefly. <3 Your poem is powerful. It reminds me of Mary Oliver in its tone and of Billy Collins in its beginning with small, home-ly details but then turning to weightier matters at the end. As others have said, that joy and gratitude and then also the really difficult questions make for a beautiful poem.

  11. Thanks for your poem Denise with much pondering thought–and thanks too for sharing the joy filled pic from the conference!

  12. Oh, my heart. Thank you for capturing all of this, Denise…

  13. Oh, Denise, such a lovely poem! All the everyday things you included and all the questions about how this world works and why. I envy your trip to the conference. It must have been wonderfully energizing!

  14. Your “last love letter” is a beautiful celebration of what we know and what is beyond fathoming, yet all too real. You captured the contrast and incomprehensibility of life perfectly, Denise. Thank you.

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