Friday, November 03, 2006

November 3



For weeks now I've been feeling so very grateful for everything. Every time I've felt the start of nagging negativity I've quickly turned it into gratitude. Annoyed with a child for her stubborness? I'm grateful for her strength of character. Pissed off by a demanding client? I'm grateful for the work and income. It hasn't been hard to do, it hasn't been forced ... and this tiny (?) mental turnaround has given me so. much. joy.

But yesterday, in the face of bad choices made by a teenager I love, I lost my Pollyanna smile. So W.S. Merwin's words are a timely reminder that there is always something to be thankful for, and if we choose to focus on that instead, our lives are infinitely better.

Listen
with the night falling we are saying thank you
we are stopping on the bridges to bow from the railings
we are running out of the glass rooms
with our mouths full of food to look at the sky
and say thank you
we are standing by the water thanking it
standing by the windows looking out
in our directions

back from a series of hospitals back from a mugging
after funerals we are saying thank you
after the news of the dead
whether or not we knew them we are saying thank you

over telephones we are saying thank you
in doorways and in the backs of cars and in elevators
remembering wars and the police at the door
and the beatings on stairs we are saying thank you
in the banks we are saying thank you
in the faces of the officials and the rich
and of all who will never change
we go on saying thank you thank you

with the animals dying around us
taking our feelings we are saying thank you
with the forests falling faster than the minutes
of our lives we are saying thank you
with the words going out like cells of a brain
with the cities growing over us
we are saying thank you faster and faster
with nobody listening we are saying thank you
thank you we are saying and waving
dark though it is

- W.S. Merwin, Thanks

(The art above is by Federico Acerri, who sent it to me as part of a postcard swap in Feb 04. It's been on my pinboard ever since.)

1 comment:

Ari-Asha said...

Thank you so much for posting this poem. It rocked my world.