Thursday, November 28, 2013


As the sun rose this Thanksgiving morning, gradually warming the fields and woodlands that surround our new home in South Carolina, I remembered a Denise Levertov song of praise that I recently discovered.  It's an excerpt from Levertov's long poem, Mass For The Day of St. Thomas Didymus, and it expresses much of what I feel on this day — a deep sense of gratitude for the daily unfolding of life; for simple, overlooked things like light and shadow; and for the mysterious forces that continue to give meaning to our lives through "flow and change, night and the pulse of day."  Perhaps you, too, will be inspired by the poem.

                                                            ii Gloria

by Denise Levertov

                                Praise the wet snow
                                         falling early.
                                Praise the shadow
                                         my neighbor's chimney casts on the tile roof
                                even this gray October day that should, they say,
                                have been golden.
                                the invisible sun burning beyond
                                     the white cold sky, giving us
                                light and the chimney's shadow.
                                god or the gods, the unknown,
                                that which imagined us, which stays
                                our hand,
                                our murderous hand,
                                                     and gives us
                                in the shadow of death,
                                             our daily life,
                                             and the dream still
                                of goodwill, of peace on earth.
                                flow and change, night and 
                                the pulse of day.

                       HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO EVERYONE!


  1. Very inspiring George. A Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family too.

  2. A beautiful poem from one of my favourite poets. Let's always try to observe and praise the simple, overlooked things, and our lives will be infinitely the richer.

    PS Your new home has lovely environs! Thanks for the invitation, by the way. It's very kind of you.

  3. Thanks, Pat, and what synchronicity! I was commenting on your current post about geography and babies at the same time I received your comment. Glad you found the Levertov poem inspiring.

  4. Good morning, Robert, and thanks for the comment. As I read this poem, I realized that I need to read more of Levertov. As I recall, the poem from which "Gloria" was excerpted was written during a period of spiritual transition for Levertov. I love the humility that leads her to express deep gratitude for the simple gifts of life, while remaining noncommittal about the specific nature of the source of those gifts. She speaks only of "god or the gods, the unknown, that which has imagined us." It's clear, however, that she is referring to what some have called "God beyond God."

  5. I love the tender and quiet tone of this praise poem, which I have not read before. Even though there are shadows in it, the turn to praise softens the world and its frights, because it's one's perspective that matters above all. Thank you, George. And I agree with Robert that your new location looks just lovely.

  6. Thanks, Ruth. Hope you and your family had a great Thanksgiving. As for the shadows in the poem, I think they are the key for me — the call to praise what we have been given, the good and the bad, even when we remain unsure of to whom to direct the praise, even we we are praising "the unknown, that which imagined us."

  7. How did I miss this the other week? I like that Levertov poem. Funnily enough, I've just been posting about chimneys myself (although not my neighbour's). I like the way blogging tuns up these random chimes of synchronicity.

    1. HI, Dominic! Just returned from California to find your comment. Glad you liked the Levertov poem, and you're right about the "random chimes of synchronicity" we find in blogging. I think we all experience that on a fairly regular basis. Hope all is well with you and your family.