Thursday, November 22, 2018

A Poem Re-Draft and a New Poem Draft

I hope everyone in the U.S. had an excellent Thanksgiving. My turkey (with apple and onion stuffing) came out perfect this year. People often disparage turkey, but they are generally disparaging its strength -- even done badly, turkey is usually still OK. But when it is done well, it is splendid among birds.

A Bit of Thanksgiving

I thank you, Lord, for fruitful fields,
for wide and healthful skies,
and for the hopes that we can have
that are not marred by lies.
And thank you, God, for mysteries
still left for us to solve
upon this awesome floating ball
that rotates and revolves.

I thank you, Lord, for cheerful sun
that rises every dawn,
and that my students learn to hide
the sound and sight of yawn,
that education is a joy
that overflows with awe,
and, on those crazy grading days,
that there are murder laws.

Thank you, Lord, for infant smiles
and children bright at play;
thank you for the silly souls
who annoy us every day.
(We appreciate those most, O Lord,
those crosses that we bear;
we thank you that we're not yet bald
from pulling out our hair.)

I thank you, Lord, for mercy
that rescues from the brink
and thank you, Lord, for righteous wrath --
we need more of it, I think.
But thank you for all gentle souls
who always tempers keep;
protect them, Lord, from the rest of us,
lest we kill them in their sleep.

I thank you that we live here free
in houses without bars,
that there are things that we can own,
that no one owns the stars,
that joy and virtue freely flow
without a market price
while we have markets fully full
of grain and fruit and spice.

I thank you, Lord, for politics,
for presidents and such,
that they work so hard to get their way,
that they never get it much;
yea, for the limits you have placed
on corruption, fraud, and spite,
that we never have to deal with them
save a dozen times each night.

Thank you, Lord, for critics harsh
who sting with whip and flail;
because of harsh reviewers,
I thank you, Lord, for hell.
And thank you, Lord, for stupid folk,
so we can clearly see
in blatant view the foolish things
from which none of us are free.

And thank you for those shocking times
when we pedants who lecture all
on every foolish folly
into those follies fall,
for it teaches us the wisdom
of gentleness and restraint
lest we in turn be painted
with the brush by which we paint.

Thank your for your graces,
the good of little things,
which even in the hardest times
can make us laugh and sing.
And thank you for all wonders
that stimulate the mind --
no matter the occasion,
new truths our minds may find.

And thank you for each wedding,
and thank you for the tie
that binds a family into one,
though scattered under sky.
I thank you, Lord, for honest folk,
for workers hard and sure,
without which all the world would fall;
may all their kind endure.

But I thank you most for follies--
they overflow the bank
so if I thank you for each one,
I'll never cease to thank!
And thank you for sweet irony;
it gives the wit to see
that all the things we moan about
may be thanksgiving's seed.

But most of all, I thank you, Lord,
that long before we die,
we can see ourselves with wry regard,
and laugh until we cry.


C. S. Peirce

Upon the empty page the pen
With reason writes, dividing thought;
As in life, line cancels line,
Breaking borders, erasing bounds;
And you, the pen, on truth's white page
The universal seize by sign,
By cunning, laws from cases catch,
And muse that meaning may be found.
By practice mind may make the world:
By love and chance the world is wrought.

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