The critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.

G.K. Chesterton

In Mary Oliver’s Gratitude, the poem trickles from the gentle prod of simple questions.  Most of her stanzas, her answers, are longer than I have included here, but the questions are the real feast she offers and what I most wanted to share.  An eight-course meal, for Thanksgiving.   May your own answers be equally delicious.

What did you notice?

The dew-snail;
the low-flying sparrow;
the bat, on the wind, in the dark…

What did you hear?

The thrush greeting the morning;
the little bluebirds in their hot box;
the salty talk of the wren,
then the deep cup of the hour of silence.

What did you admire?

The oaks, letting down their dark and hairy fruit;
the carrot, rising in its elongated waist;
the onion, sheet after sheet, curved inward to the
pale green wand….

What astonished you?

The swallows making their dip and turn over the water.

What would you like to see again?

My dog: her energy and exuberance, her willingness…

What was most tender?

Queen Anne’s lace, with its parsnip root…

What was most wonderful?

The sea, and its wide shoulders;
the sea and its triangles;
the sea lying back on its long athlete’s spine.

What did you think was happening?

The green breast of the hummingbird;
the eye of the pond;
the wet face of the lily…

so the gods shake us from our sleep.

excerpts from “Gratitude” by Mary Oliver, from What Do We Know

~ by Stephanie on 11/24/2011.

2 Responses to “Abundant.Lavish.Simplicity”

  1. Oliver’s poetry is like a long, relieving sigh.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you, Stephanie. I am grateful for our long friendship.

  2. Perfect. Finding Thanksgiving everywhere, among everthing. Here’s back at you – my thanks for you.

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