We might not first realize it, but the following words are among the hundreds of ways to say thank you: Obrigada, Tika hoki, I ning bara, Tang kun, Tack, Danki. Of course, areas in which these words are spoken will not be saying "thanks" in the same way we Americans do during these days of "thanksgiving," recalling the harvest the Native Americans shared with the settlers.
And what are some ways we express our gratitude? Sometimes families go around the table and ask each person to mention something for which he or she is grateful. So we have to be prepared to think on the spot and speak the impromptu. To help us out, there is a lovely little poem entitled "Poem of Thanks" by writer Thomas Lux. In it, he juxtaposes things we might not usually see together.
Beginning the poem with "Lord Whoever," Lux follows with "thank you for this air/I'm about to in-and exhale." The hyphen he writes after "in" makes us think of our own breathing and how close the inhale and exhale are (unless we are counting breaths for some exercise maneuver) and how the breaths are taken for granted by most of us most of the time.
The poem mentions "wood for fire" in line three and then turns to "light" in the following line. Thanks is given for "the lightóboth lamp and the natural stuff." Then comes the surprise: among all this imageryó mostly from natureóLux interjects "the piano" and in the same line "the shovel." Would we ever imagine seeing those two objects in such close proximity? Or imagine ourselves including a piano and a shovel together on our list of things we are thankful for? Ah, what poetry can do!
Though the tone of some of Lux's words makes us wonder how seriously we are to take the ideas in the poem (from Lux or the persona), we, nevertheless, sense gratitude. And gratitude is what we can take to our tables this time of year. Whether we quote someone or make original remarks with our own words, our expressions of thanks and appreciation are sure to make others feel thankful in turn.
The Writerís Corner, which is published the last week of each month, invites children and adults to submit original works for consideration. Send up to four short (20 lines or less) poems at a time or up to two brief (under 200 words) excerpts from manuscripts at a time. Be sure to include your name, address, phone number, and brief bio. Enclose 2 self-addressed stamped envelopes (for both notification of acceptance and tear sheet). We try to print accepted works promptly unless there is a backlog.
Send submissions to
C/O Summerville Journal Scene
P.O. Box 715
Summerville, SC 29484