The Sunday Salon: Thanksgiving

This Thursday we will celebrate Thanksgiving in the US.  While the day’s origins are about giving thanks for a successful harvest, it’s also an opportunity to think more broadly about things we’re thankful for.  This year I’m feeling more grateful than usual, because my oldest daughter is home from university.  It was so exciting to meet her at the airport Friday night!  Her room is all untidy and lived-in again.  On Saturday night, we watched a movie together.  I’ve missed her so much, and I didn’t fully realize it until she was back home.  When a friend shared this poem with me today, it just seemed too good not to share with all of you.

First Thanksgiving
by Sharon Olds

When she comes back, from college, I will see
the skin of her upper arms, cool,
matte, glossy. She will hug me, my old
soupy chest against her breasts,
I will smell her hair! She will sleep in this apartment,
her sleep like an untamed, good object,
like a soul in a body. She came into my life the
second great arrival, after him, fresh
from the other world—which lay, from within him,
within me, Those nights, I fed her to sleep,
week after week, the moon rising,
and setting, and waxing—whirling, over the months,
in a slow blur, around our planet.
Now she doesn’t need love like that, she has
had it. She will walk in glowing, we will talk,
and then, when she’s fast asleep, I’ll exult
to have her in that room again,
behind that door! As a child, I caught
bees, by the wings, and held them, some seconds,
looked into their wild faces,
listened to them sing, then tossed them back
into the air—I remember the moment the
arc of my toss swerved, and they entered
the corrected curve of their departure.

– From Strike Sparks: Selected Poems 1980-2002

Welcome home, Kate.


Read more from The Sunday Salon here.

12 thoughts on “The Sunday Salon: Thanksgiving

  1. Ah, what a beautiful poem! And I know what you mean about how wonderful to have the little chickens come home for a bit. It’s been awhile since any of mine did.

    They all have their own families now, and the grandkids come to stay for sleepovers. Every few years or so, my eldest son comes home from Europe where he has been “sojourning” now for several years. It is always wonderful when that happens.

    Enjoy your time with your daughter.


  2. How wonderful that you have this time to enjoy with your daughter! I remember how excited I was when my sister came home from college that first time. We spent the entire weekend camped out on the hide-a-bed watching movies and pretending it was a slumber party (I was in junior high at the time). It was many years before I realized how sweet she was to spend all of that time with instead of heading out to meet up with her old high school friends.

    • That’s really sweet, Alyce. I have a younger daughter, too, so they have enjoyed some “sister time” but the older one has gone out with friends tonight. You were very lucky, indeed.

  3. Pingback: A Thanksgiving Poem to Baseball | Garlicfriesandbaseball's Blog

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