Friday, October 5, 2007

Thanksgiving in October

Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend, and the trees are blazing red in my back yard.

I feel the call to poetry, because nothing else reminds me how it feels to walk in sunshine with an empty head, and a full heart; to give thanks for birds hopping on a branch, for sunlight through leaves, for the smell kicked up by my shoes in those leaves.

Denise Levertov is one of my early discoveries when I went back to school at age 30 to learn poetry. I heard her read once at McGill and approached her with tears in my eyes to thank her for sharing her words and her heart with us.


The fire in leaf and grass
so green it seems
each summer the last summer.

The wind blowing, the leaves
shivering in the sun,
each day the last day.

A red salamander
so cold and so
easy to catch, dreamily

moves his delicate feet
and long tail. I hold
my hand open for him to go.

Each minute the last minute.

Denise Levertov

And that is what I felt yesterday walking in the green field of grass with golden heat on my shoulders. Breathe it in, today is like the last day. News of 3 deaths and one good friend with multiple cancers may have brought it home: my neighbour, of prostate cancer, passed last Saturday; my sister's best friend lost her newly found love, at 42, to a heart attack. My therapist of a few years back I just learned has a brain tumour and lung cancer at the same time.

I feel very grateful this day, to be alive, to be enjoying and appreciating. This day.


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