Poetry Friday: Praise What Comes by Jeanne Lohmann

So many conversations this past week have coalesced around the question of Thanksgiving: is your family coming? will you be alone? how weird is this pandemic Thanksgiving? how are you coping?

Yes…it’s weird.

My kids travel up from Brooklyn. One is here already, after having being tested. But, Covid has spiked again in New York City, and getting tested has become tricky to well nigh impossible. So, the other two may or may not make it up. We’ve never spent Thanksgiving apart, through the college years and the ongoing partnering up years. Not to have my children home for Thanksgiving is the unthinkable, but 2020 is the year of exactly that.

Walking through the pasture on Friday morning, I felt burdened by concerns: for our little family, for the Trumpian America, for the planet, for the… what does one think about when the world seems to be falling apart? What is worthy of considered thought?

Later that day, we were gifted with an extraordinary sunset. In the quiet of the moment, in the beauty and grace that is this farm I am lucky enough to live on, I thought to give praise and find joy. Both are fleeting, both are unexpected, and both come when least expected.

Praise What Comes by Jeanne Lohmann

Surprising as unplanned kisses, all you haven’t deserved
of days and solitude, your body’s immoderate good health
that lets you work in many kinds of weather. Praise
talk with just about anyone. And quiet intervals, books
that are your food and your hunger; nightfall and walks
before sleep. Praising these for practice, perhaps
you will come at last to praise grief and the wrongs
you never intended. At the end there may be no answers
and only a few very simple questions: did I love,
finish my task in the world? Learn at least one
of the many names of God? At the intersections,
the boundaries where one life began and another
ended, the jumping-off places between fear and
possibility, at the ragged edges of pain,
did I catch the smallest glimpse of the holy?

2 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: Praise What Comes by Jeanne Lohmann

  1. Beautiful thoughts, Tara, on this eve of Thanksgiving, with Christ the King Sunday before and Advent I right after. We are lone together, both our children at their own homes, one on the far west coast of Washington, the other in central Florida. Nonetheless, Hubby have great plans to celebrate our yearly traditions, grateful that we remain relatively healthy into our early 80s. (Are we really that old already? Impossible!) The gardens were put to bed last week with a thick coverlet of leaves from golden birch, red dogwood and sweet gum trees. And pine straw from the neighbor’s tree over the back fence. We are well and healthy and ready for whatever comes next.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love those “simple” questions the poem poses. Those seem aspirational to me, to consider for the rest of my trip through this world, not to be saved for the end.

    I just made the decisions to cancel even my small birthday/solstice celebration and move it to Zoom. It hurts, but it is temporary, and it may turn out even better than the original plans. Sending hugs as you reimagine Thanksgiving.

    Liked by 1 person

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