What fiction does
In the gift-giving season

On Thanksgiving Day: elemental gratitude

Nattadon waterfall

Prayer for the Great Family
by Gary Snyder (after a Mohawk prayer)

Gratitude to Mother Earth, sailing through night and day —
and to her soil: rich, rare, and sweet
in our minds so be it

Waterfall 2

Gratitude to Plants, the sun-facing light changing leaf
and fine-root hairs; standing still through wind
and rain; their dance is in the flowing spiral grain
in our minds so be it

Waterfall 3

Gratitude to Air, bearing the soaring Swift and the silent
Owl at dawn. Breath of our song
clear spirit breeze
in our minds so be it

Waterfall 4

Gratitude to Wild Beings, our brothers teaching secrets,
freedoms, and ways; who share with us their milk;
self-complete, brave, and aware
in our minds so be it

Waterfall 5

Gratitude to Water: clouds, lakes, rivers, glaciers;
holding or releasing; streaming through all
our bodies salty seas
in our minds so be it

Waterfall 6

Gratitude to the Sun: blinding pulsing light through
trunks of trees, through mists, warming caves where
bears and snakes sleep — he who wakes us –
in our minds so be it

Waterfall 7

Gratitude to the Great Sky
who holds billions of stars — and goes yet beyond that –
beyond all powers, and thoughts
and yet is within us –
Grandfather Space.
The Mind is his Wife,
so be it

Waterfall 8

To which I add:

Gratitude for the things that will help us get through the long winter ahead: warmth and light, friendship and art, good talk, good music, good books, good dreams, good single malt whiskey (hey, whatever it takes). Gratitude for the storms that shake us, and the sweet calm after.

Gratitude for it all.

Waterfall 9

Waterfall 10

The poem above is from Turtle Island by Gary Snyder (New Directions, 1974); it first appeared on Myth & Moor in the winter of 2014. The poem in the picture captions is from Orpheus by Don Paterson (Faber, 2006). All rights reserved by the authors. The photograph of me and Tilly was taken by Ellen Kushner. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.


Happy Thanksgiving, Terri.

And, this world will never forget you or me
thee and thine, all and all sentient things
Nor these words be wasted - here echo sings

Happy Thanksgiving Terri!
Thanks for the beautiful prose you gave us today.

Gratitude for the hosts of friends
who inhabit the physical
and ethereal spaces of our lives,
for the support and inspiration of their words.
In our hearts so be it.

So--Be it.

Be the earth, with its girdle
of water.
Be the sky with suspenders
of blue.
Be the count of the days, beads
on a string.
Be me and I will
be you.

So--be it!


©2017 Jaene Yolen all rights reserved

I give thanks for this beautiful community gathered around the fire, water, earth and air of our creations, Terri. Blessed be to all!

Thank you so much Terri, for all you give that is inspirational. And a big thanks to the internet which may soon have restrictions! Today is blessed.

Thank you for this. I had just come across a similar version from last year, but I'd love to share yours...

Hi Terri

Thank you for these beautiful photos and that gorgeous poem by Gary Snyder. It is very moving and I love how he addresses all the gifts of nature and the spirit of nature that propels all of us to look and wonder, give thanks. I wish you a blessed Thanksgiving, good health and much inspiration for your creative projects ahead.

A poem of gratitude from the high desert simply called "Thank you".

Thank You

if the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough"
Meister Erkhart

Call me back
from this cactus
where I have been
wearing its cloth

and cleansing my space
with burnt sage.
The worst of my pain
gone, exorcised
by the wind
and returned
to stone ruins
that bruise purple
in the dusk.

Lend my breath
a flock of birds
to etch the sky,
an utterance
of prayer
so ancient and plain

our tribe of bones
will feel
its strength, its syllables
on the horizon’s tongue.
Take care

Hi Jane

I love the beauty and wisdom of this poem in its imagistic simplicity. The earth asking us to wear her clothing, to count our days, our blessings on an abacus of beads, moments. And if we do this, we will become her and she will become us, the perfect and essential union to preserve the earth and ourselves. And that begins with a sense of awe and gratitude for all the things she has given us.

Thank you for sharing,
love it!

A lovely spell for thanksgiving. All the very best to you and yours Terri, in a time of reflection and thankfulness of the small still things that fill up a rich life.

And I give thanks for your understanding of poetry, even seemingly simple ones, Wendy.


And this:

Lend my breath
a flock of birds
to etch the sky,
an utterance
of prayer
so ancient and plain

our tribe of bones
will feel
its strength, its syllables
on the horizon’s tongue.

is why I continue to love you poems, Wendy, this understanding
of the connection between earth and sky, between beings not us--and us--between watching and becoming.


This is beautiful, Terri; and to the community of givers, too. Thank you!!

Thank you so much Jane

for this beautiful commentary on my poem and why you like it! I deeply appreciate it! I think since moving to the high desert of Sothern Cal over 12 years ago, I have come closer to nature, perceiving more than I did before; namely how we are connected to the landscape and its species, how nature's spirit often infuse our own.

Again, much appreciation for this,
Take care

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