A Thanksgiving Poem

By

Happy Thanksgiving, Rabbit Roomers. In honor of this fine holiday I give you my newest poem, which started out like John Berryman and became a total rip-off of Billy Collins. So don’t sue me. I wrote it while Pete, Jamie and I drove from Tennessee to Shiloh, my folks’ place in North Florida, where I write these words. I looked and looked for the perfect image to complement the poem, and this was the best I could come up with. Again, don’t sue me. Have a grand feast, and don’t do that thing where everybody has to say something they’re thankful for before you eat. I’ve found that everybody’s happier if you wait to do that after the trypto-whatever kicks in.

THANKSGIVING
(A CONFESSION AND A PLEA TO THE ALMIGHTY)

bigbirdO God, Magnificent Confounder,
Boundless in mercy and power,
Be near me in my apathy.

Be near me, Savage Dreamer,
Bright Igniter of Exploding Suns,
But not too near. I’d like to live,

By your grace, just long enough
To taste another perfect steak.
And to see my children marry,

And, perhaps, to pen a memoir.
Great redeemer of my lechery,
Bright Dawn of Blessed Hope,

Lay waste to every prideful thing,
Each black infraction of your law.
O Swirling Storm of Holy Anger,

Be patient with me. I’m certain
I will make a second gluttonous
Trip to the festal spread of food.

And I might as well admit, O King
Omniscient, I plan to make a third.
And that will lead to sloth, I know,

If only for the afternoon. Awake,
O sleeper! But not yet, not yet.
I want to dream a dream of light

In Heaven’s towering splendor.
I long, my Lord, to walk its streets
Or better yet, to drive them.

I’ve always wanted a motorcycle,
A cool one that blats and rumbles
Like a herd of flaming zebras.

I could totally impress the ladies
With my holy rolling zebra steed,
But only by your perfect pleasure,

Ruler of the angel armies, blaster
Of the horn of strength, would I ride
The golden highways awesomely.

O Wisdom of the Ages, speak!
Sing to me of secret knowledge
Open wide the gates of truth,

And let me learn it, by your grace,
Through the medium of television–
Smartly written situational comedy,

Perhaps, or an epic space opera.
Let me taste the honey of your word,
My beloved savior. Seriously. Save me

From my wit, my words, my songs,
My sin, my bad poems, my vanity,
My every single human impulse,

Except the ones I like and am able
To justify using my corruptible
Reason, my imperfect understanding,

And my belief in your inexhaustible
Forgiveness. When I awake, saintly,
I will consume a dish of pumpkin pie.

And, as I politely swallow a belch,
I will lean my heart on yours, Almighty,
To whom, alone, is due thanksgiving.

Profile photo of Andrew Peterson

As a singer-songwriter and recording artist, Andrew has released more than ten records over the past fifteen years. His music has earned him a reputation for writing songs that connect with his listeners in ways equally powerful, poetic, and intimate. He has also followed his gifts into the realm of publishing. His books include the four volumes of the award-winning Wingfeather Saga.


24 Comments

  1. Paula Shaw

    This is awesome! I’ll be thinking of it all day, as I cook and clean, and add the finishing touches to our Thanksgiving table. Glimpses of some grand old hymns and visions of the future will keep a smile on my face this day as I toil, and am once again brought to the reality that, indeed, He alone is due thanksgiving! Thanks, Andrew. This gave me the best start I could possibly have on a very long day. Happy Thanksgiving to you all, and please, get that baby girl outta that huge sand pile!
    😉

  2. JJ

    I wasn’t sure what I was going to get when I started reading it. I got more than I could have ever imagined. Much more.

    Absolutely brilliant.

  3. Bill

    A great LOL moment to start this Thanksgiving day-tickled by the picture especially!
    We give thanks with a grateful heart, Father, for Andrew and his amzaing creativity-You’re light shining through!

  4. Barbara

    What a great start to the day! There’s dailiness and silliness, all wrapped up in sacredness.
    Yes, brilliant.

    And I’ll second the youtube slam poety reading 🙂

    A beautiful Thanksgiving to you all…

  5. Chris Yokel

    As a Collins fan, I can confirm, that is a total ripoff of Billy Collins! But a pretty darn good one I must say 🙂 Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours Andrews, and to rabbits everywhere!

  6. Mimi

    Seriously considering springing this one on our guests in a couple of hours…after everyone’s bowed their heads…

  7. Fellow Traveler

    Andrew, you know what C. S. Lewis thinks of free verse poetry, right? You know, how it causes you to write worse prose than you normally would, except broken up into lines?

    (Clears throat loudly…)

    Thanks for the laugh. Happy Thanksgiving! 😀

  8. Craig

    How hard we need to lean on the grace of our infinite creator, dangerous and wonderful. I really appreciate the basis in reality…even the difficult reality to swallow. Blessings.

  9. Jen

    Channeling some Collins isn’t a bad thing. How about we call it a homage instead of a rip-off? That sounds much nicer. 😉

    Flaming zebras = epic!

    Is anyone else freaked out by the illustration though?
    Happy Thanksgiving!

  10. Sarah K.

    I enjoyed this so much!
    Also, I think that along with Billy Collins, it’s possible you’re a little indebted to Augustine “Make-me-chaste-but-not-yet” of Hippo.
    Whom, let’s face it, is also a pretty stellar person to owe things to. Just as Hippo is a pretty stellar place to be from.

  11. Jazz

    I love motorcycles!!! I want to get one when I learn to drive. But each time this subject comes up, my dad and grampa start telling stories about horrible motorcycle wrecks that people they knew were in. I hate it when they do that!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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