e e cummings

One of his poems of gratitude:

i thank You God for most this amazing
day for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky, and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday, this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any–lifted from the no
of all nothing–human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

by e.e. cummings

Sigh.  This is one of those poems that I like to let wash over me.  Imagining that I’m laying on my back on a Huck Finn type raft, floating downstream, gazing skyward, dreamy.  Hearing e.e. cummings read his poem for the first time, I felt joined with him in this prayer poem of gratitude.  Wow!

Writing Prompt:
What does this poem evoke for you?  Read and/or listen to it a few times.  Savor the way the words flow.  What images arise?


Ode to My Jeans

An ode can convey gratitude.  This ode also employs the use of figurative language.  My sister, Kathryn, wrote this ode to her jeans several years ago.

Ode to My Jeans
© by Kathryn O’Brien

you always hug me
in just the right places

I remember
flipping through pages
slinky skimpy girlie stuff
Victoria’s Secret
catalog of glossies
the kind Joe liked

I sipped coffee
in bored fantasy
until you appeared
pure cotton denim
so out of place
like me in Joe’s life

you were hidden beneath
a one-size-fits-all
cotton sweater
but just my style
I sent away for you

stretched snugly over my limbs
you highlighted my form
holding me up
where I might have buckled
always there to slip into
when nothing else fit

stuffed into clunky hiking boots
or finished with delicate heels
mickey mouse sweatshirt
or silk camisole
I remember how it never mattered
who I was inside of you
how Joe never noticed either way

so here we are
faded and worn
sagging around the hips
loose at the waist
six years gone
Joe too
your left knee exposing bare flesh

Writing Prompt:
What in your life would you like to elevate into an ode?  It could be a n y t h i n g.




Yesterday, in the United States, we celebrated our Thanksgiving holiday. Tradition has us gather with family and friends to give thanks for one another, for the harvest and the gifts that life has bestowed upon us.  Ideally, gratitude is a part of our daily experience.  I notice that when I come from a place of gratitude, I am able to better hold the balance with what doesn’t seem to be working (personally and in the world).  There are as many ways to give thanks as there are people.  In autumn, my thoughts are naturally drawn to gratitude for the harvest.  Sometimes this is an internally whispered “thank you.” Other times it is a proclamation delivered on a mountaintop or a feeling of sheer exuberance without words.

“Harriet Kofalk was a beloved naturalist, author, activist, mother, grandmother, and dear friend to many people worldwide.”

From the book, Earth Prayers, we have Harriet Kofalk’s poem of thanks:

in a moment of peace

I give thanks
to the source of all peace

as I set forth
into the day
the birds sing
with new voices
and I listen
with new ears
and give thanks

the flower called Angel’s Trumpet
in the breeze
and I give thanks

my feet touch the grass
still wet with dew
and I give thanks
both to my mother earth
for sustaining my steps
and to the seas

cycling once again
to bring forth new life

the dewdrops
become jeweled
with the morning’s sun-fire
and I give thanks

you can see forever
when the vision is clear
in this moment
each moment
I give thanks.

Harriet’s poem is one of both gratitude and presence.  Write your own poem of gratitude. You could start by listing some of the things you feel grateful for today and develop your unique gratitude poem from that list. Or, you can borrow Harriet’s line “I give thanks…” and allow your own poem to evolve from her line prompt.

Wait a few days and then spend some time crafting your poem. 

Mt. Shasta on election day

I give thanks for where I live.