Hosted by Kathabela Wilson
Now, when I’m feeling especially grateful to the editors and hosts that welcome our travels, poems and readings, this theme of Gratitude is especially timely. I give you these words by poet-naturalist Jeff Hoagland, who performed with us at Wild Graces, in Deerfield, New Hampshire, last weekend. His message brings home the essence of gratitude as a way of living our lives. Jeff Hoagland writes ‘I think gratitude is a key element of inhabiting our planet. It is easy to be grateful when one receives what they want good food, a gift of a book, a beautiful day. But gratitude is much larger than this. It is a way of living in recognition of the countless gifts we receive, feeling it deeply within our soul, and sharing it outwardly to show appreciation and infect/affect others.’
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is best served
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the white pines
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more than enough
star magnolias bloom
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spirits stand in the cedar…
the roots of trees
yet to grow…
these tree spirits
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the parched trees
rejuvenated by rain
when you listened to me
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in the company
a quiet gratitude
Gratitude: Quotes and Credits
Dennis Gobou says his “gratitude” phrase/poem is modeled as a parody of the saying, “revenge is best served cold. Every breath is a gift for which we should be grateful.” He lives on Saint Simon’s Island, Georgia.
Margo Williams, of Stayton, Oregon, says her friend Susan Clark took a walk in the woods at Illinois State Park. Susan snapped a white pine photo. Her photo inspired my ku, “I saw white pines share gratitude!”
Robert Johnston is a poet, artist, and philosopher who explores the natural world around him. His subtle artistic insights inspire a deep sense openness. His small poem is indeed “more than enough” to inspire a “falling apart” of the ordinary, to expose the extraordinary. He says: “Springtime in New Zealand, where I live, far to the south, in Dunedin: Uncountable magnolias bloom in the public gardens, burst from downy buds, petals flopping open voluptuously, each a beautiful woman already scarred in some degree by marks of death.”
Pat Geyer shares this story: “The Cherokee people wanted day with no night. In the heat they decided there should be night all the time! The Creator accepted the gratitude of the people and was glad to see them smiling again. However, during the time of the long days of night, many of the people had died, and the Creator was sorry that they had perished because of the night. The Creator placed their spirits in a newly created tree. This tree was named a-tsi-na tlu-gv, cedar tree.” Pat lives in East Brunswick, New Jersey.
Christina Sng, of Singapore, says: “Gratitude—such a simple antidote to the unhappiness that grips us daily, yet it is so difficult in practice. It takes deliberate action to sit down and remember all the good there still is in this world and how we have so much to be thankful for.”
Jeff Hoagland has worked in wildlife rehabilitation – caring for injured or orphaned wildlife with the goal of releasing it back into the wild. He says: “I was so awestruck by the animals I cared for and very grateful for these encounters on so many levels. Likewise, these birds and mammals, out of their element and filled with fear, most often settled into the cycle of care I delivered and demonstrated their own sense of gratitude. Very rewarding!”
*I’m especially grateful to Jeff Hoagland for graciously giving permission to use his haiku above, which was the final haiku in “Crow Talk Owl Speak” a renku written with Robin White, our poet host. They performed it together at Wild Graces, Deerfield, New Hampshire, Sept. 8, 2018.
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