Last week on a date set aside for gratitude, I wrote about the gift universe & the story of a man who knew how to give thanks. G.K. Chesterton suggested that even in sorry & desolate conditions the bare fact of existence is mighty enough a miracle to warrant thanksgiving. He wrote a poem about it. & when I had read it & come to understand it, I was so glad that I wrote one myself — albeit a lesser composition by far:
Snatched from the yawning nothingness
and the not-being, the abyss,
He has planted you on the planet
like a lover plants a kiss.
Out of the soundless empty space
of a black hole beside a star,
He has called you up into sensing
like no kind of metaphor,
made you a beggar, grimy waif,
to take bread from the dirt with dogs,
to wring one lonely earth with anguish
like the night is wrung with frogs.
‘Joy to the world, the populace,
and the urchins beneath, and kings,’
He has shouted it to your darkness,
your orphans, your saddest things.
‘Joy if your name be listed here,
yea, if even among the slain,
you in ink lay beside the fallen,
Joy that you have a name!
Joy for the cold that drives you on,
and the wars that have made you roam,
for the way that I sent you forth and
for the long fall back to home.’