Hello, poets! Welcome to Haibun Monday, where we blend prose and haiku into that unique hybrid form, haibun. Frank J. Tassone here, and today, Let’s dive deep into a difficult practice: giving thanks.
The United States officially celebrates Thanksgiving this Thursday:
Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday celebrated on various dates in the United States, Canada, some of the Caribbean islands, and Liberia. It began as a day of giving thanks and sacrifice for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year. Similarly named festival holidays occur in Germany and Japan. Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday of October in Canada and on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States, and around the same part of the year in other places. Although Thanksgiving has historical roots in religious and cultural traditions, it has long been celebrated as a secular holiday as well.
Other societies celebrate a day for giving thanks, whether as a dedicated holiday or simply as part of a greater tradition.
There is something about giving thanks that we recognize we need to do. But for some of us, that’s not easy to do. One look at what’s happening in the world these days doesn’t make that any easier, that’s for sure. Over a year in, COVID-19 still plagues us. Civil unrest and climate change still disrupt many parts of our world. Our own, personal circumstances testify against any offer of thanksgiving.
Nevertheless, don’t we all have something for which we are grateful? Isn’t there anything for which we can give thanks? I certainly can!
The following poets did, too:
Edgar Guest – 1881-1959
Gettin’ together to smile an’ rejoice,
An’ eatin’ an’ laughin’ with folks of your choice;
An’ kissin’ the girls an’ declarin’ that they
Are growin’ more beautiful day after day;
Chattin’ an’ braggin’ a bit with the men,
Buildin’ the old family circle again;
Livin’ the wholesome an’ old-fashioned cheer,
Just for awhile at the end of the year.
Greetings fly fast as we crowd through the door
And under the old roof we gather once more
Just as we did when the youngsters were small;
Mother’s a little bit grayer, that’s all.
Father’s a little bit older, but still
Ready to romp an’ to laugh with a will.
Here we are back at the table again
Tellin’ our stories as women an’ men.
Bowed are our heads for a moment in prayer;
Oh, but we’re grateful an’ glad to be there.
Home from the east land an’ home from the west,
Home with the folks that are dearest an’ best.
Out of the sham of the cities afar
We’ve come for a time to be just what we are.
Here we can talk of ourselves an’ be frank,
Forgettin’ position an’ station an’ rank.
Give me the end of the year an’ its fun
When most of the plannin’ an’ toilin’ is done;
Bring all the wanderers home to the nest,
Let me sit down with the ones I love best,
Hear the old voices still ringin’ with song,
See the old faces unblemished by wrong,
See the old table with all of its chairs An’ I’ll put soul in my Thanksgivin’ prayers.This poem is in the public domain.
Perhaps the World Ends Here
Joy Harjo – 1951-
The world begins at a kitchen table. No matter what, we must eat to live.
The gifts of earth are brought and prepared, set on the table. So it has been since
creation, and it will go on.
We chase chickens or dogs away from it. Babies teethe at the corners. They scrape
their knees under it.
It is here that children are given instructions on what it means to be human. We
make men at it, we make women.
At this table we gossip, recall enemies and the ghosts of lovers.
Our dreams drink coffee with us as they put their arms around our children. They
laugh with us at our poor falling-down selves and as we put ourselves back
together once again at the table.
This table has been a house in the rain, an umbrella in the sun.
Wars have begun and ended at this table. It is a place to hide in the shadow of terror.
A place to celebrate the terrible victory.
We have given birth on this table, and have prepared our parents for burial here.
At this table we sing with joy, with sorrow. We pray of suffering and remorse. We give
Perhaps the world will end at the kitchen table, while we are laughing and crying,
eating of the last sweet bite.From The Woman Who Fell From the Sky (W. W. Norton, 1994) by Joy Harjo. Copyright © 1994 by Joy Harjo. Used with permission of the author.
This week, Let’s give thanks! Write a haibun about one person, place, or thing for which you give thanks. It could be your favorite playlist or album, a holiday getaway, childhood home, or someone truly special to you. Whomever, or whatever, you decide to give thanks for, let your haibun manifest that to us!
For those new to haibun, the form consists of one to a few paragraphs of prose—usually written in the present tense—that evoke an experience and are often non-fictional/autobiographical. They may be preceded or followed by one or more haiku—nature-based, using a seasonal image—that complement without directly repeating what the prose stated.
New to dVerse? Here’s what you do:
- Write a haibun about the person, place, or thing for which you give thanks.
- Post it on your personal site/blog
- Copy your link onto the Mr. Linky
- Remember to click the small checkbox about data protection.
- Read and comment on some of your fellow poets’ work
- Like and leave a comment below if you choose to do so
- Have fun!