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POEMS: Notes toward Thanksgiving U.S.A., An Assay

On Thanksgiving, a poetic meditation by the Becket poet David Giannini.

 

MASSACHUSETTS AUTUMN                                          

 

After pulpits whalebone and tea

in the harbor     history

still repeats     dry leaves

settling the state     puritans

crisp too     a few rakes.

 

*     *     *

 

THANKSGIVING CORNFIELD

Wind. Dry stalks. I am grateful
for this raw and lovely music
and for what is missing. Grateful

for what has been eaten
away and for these slaps
of leaves, this old family,

most still upright
and moving, shaking
to the same rasp.

 

*    *     *

 

NOTES TOWARD THANKSGIVING, U.S.A., An Assay         

If the long shadows of humankind forever cast on

Earth, what of that?

 

And what did wisdom mean before the word,

wisdom, was, before words were?

 

Pre-historic hands on stone: African to Eastern

North American, on down the line to the Taconic

range / New England / these Berkshire Hills / stones

placed around aboriginal fires, and first women of

the light sitting at cave’s mouth, their voicings. . .

 

“civilization”

 

Evolution / DNA / resolution of bones out of wind

and dirt of ages, ancestral articulation. . .

 

“civilization”

 

Daniel Boone: I have never been lost, but I will

admit to being confused for several weeks.

 

Thomas Paine: We have it in our power to begin

the world over again.

 

1ST Drunk: Revolution! Toot if by land, won if by

sea. Keep your fronds close, and your anemones

closer.                                  

 

2nd Drunk: Revolution and taverns! And if joy

deepens, mate, look out — utopia may be gainin’ on

ye!

 

Every sky yearns to be its own bird, a freedom

flying within itself, as every ideal wants to be

embodied.

 

John Adams: I always consider the settlement of

America with reverence and wonder. . . . 

 

Benjamin Franklin: The people heard it, and

approved the doctrine, and immediately practiced

the contrary.

 

John Adams later: Democracy never lasts long. It

soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself. There

was never a democracy that did not commit suicide.

 

John Adams near the end of his life wrote to

Jefferson about the new Republic: The experiment

has failed.

 

I hear America singing, drinking drugging.

I see America sinking rising and. . . .

 

Get it straight: in a World made of worlds, the

country I love and inhabit may not be the country

you love and inhabit, though we stand the same

ground.

 

And if the long shadows of humankind forever cast

on Earth, it is not that we hope so, not that we don’t.

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