Talking around the table about the mixed message of Thanksgiving–my discomfort with the often phony-feeling professions of gratitude, and of course, what we did and do to native populations. A friend suggested that there should be a Jewish holiday– if there isn’t one already–called “Misgiving.”
But someone asked me what sincere gratitude would sound like. I think something like this:
Perhaps the World Ends Here
The world begins at a kitchen table. No matter what, we must eat to live.
The gifts of earth are brought and prepared, set on the table. So it has been since creation, and it will go on.
We chase chickens or dogs away from it. Babies teethe at the corners. They scrape their knees under it.
It is here that children are given instructions on what it means to be human. We make men at it, we make women.
At this table we gossip, recall enemies and the ghosts of lovers. Continue reading “Thanksgiving misgivings?”
I wasn’t looking specifically for a Thanksgiving poem, and this one might not be to everyone’s taste, but I like its realism–the confusion of emotions amid the celebration:
The lovers loitered on the deck talking,
the men who were with men and the men who were with new women,
a little shrill and electric, and the wifely women
who had a repose and beautifully lined faces
and coppery skin. She had taken the turkey from the oven
and her friends were talking on the deck
in the steady sunshine. She imagined them
drifting toward the food, in small groups, finishing
sentences, lifting a pickle or a sliver of turkey,
nibbling a little with unconscious pleasure. And
she imagined setting it out artfully, the white meat,
the breads, antipasto, the mushrooms and salad
arranged down the oak counter cleanly, and how they all came
as in a dance when she called them. She carved meat
and then she was crying. Then she was in darkness
crying. She didn’t know what she wanted.
Robert Hass, from Praise