Sunday, November 28, 2010

On Thanksgiving Day

I don't always know what's going to come out when I start writing. I sat down thinking that I would write a sonnet about Thanksgiving. After several starts and stops, the following poem flowed out.

The odd thing about it is that I had a pretty good Thanksgiving this year. I spent time with family, played games, watched movies, got some work done, and rested.

Thanksgiving, though, is just the start of "the holiday season," which brings with it its own morass of complications, expectations, and disappointments. Surviving the frying pan of Thanksgiving just puts you into the fire of Christmastime. I hope that, sometime in the near future, I'll be able to look forward to this time of year with hope and excitement and happiness and love, and poems like this won't bubble to the surface.

But not this year.

 On Thanksgiving Day

He used to have a family, and on
Thanksgiving Day they would have such a feast.
But now his family is grown and gone:
His daughters married off and moved out east;
His brother, lost to diabetic ills;
His wife long gone — a cancer took her 'way.
He looks up from a pile of doctor bills;
The sun is setting on Thanksgiving Day.

She sits and watches TV by the hour,
Pretending that the actors know her name.
She used to be the lovely, blooming flower
Who all the young boys tried to woo and tame,
But past is passed, and now she is alone.
And though she says she likes it just this way,
A single tear reflects on her cheekbone
The sun that sets on this Thanksgiving Day.

He did so well in school that he just knew
Success was in his future — it was fate.
But as the economic turmoil grew
He worried that he graduated late.
The jobs, they said, would come with the degree,
But now collectors come, and he can't pay.
Defeated, he's decided he won't see
The sun that sets on this Thanksgiving Day.

If you got to spend Thanksgiving with just one person you love, be thankful.