Thanksgiving Thoughts

Each year, playwright James Still sends this lovely poem by Max Coots to his friends and colleagues. I am honored to be among them and feel the sentiment in this poem, not to mention the food imagery, is perfect for this unique and lovely holiday. As Still wrote:


Many years ago I started sending out a Max Coots prayer/poem/chant for Thanksgiving.  One year I suddenly felt shy about resending it and then heard from so many folks wondering why they hadn’t received that kooky poem again that I resumed the ritual.  Now it is a tradition.  The tradition is that I send this poem, the tradition is that you receive this poem.   If you’ve received it from me before, I send it with lots of renewed love.  Feel free to pass it on, read it aloud around your Thanksgiving table, or delete with glee. Mr. Coots died in 2009 at the age of 81. His poem lives on.


Let us give thanks for a bounty of people

For children who are our second planting

and though they grow like weeds

and the wind too soon blows them away,

May they forgive us our cultivation

and remember fondly where their roots are.


Let us give thanks:

For generous friends, with hearts as big as hubbards

and smiles as bright as their blossoms;

For feisty friends as tart as apples;

For continuous friends, who, like scallions and cucumbers,

keep reminding us we’ve had them;

For crotchety friends, as sour as rhubarb

and as indestructible;

For handsome friends, who are as gorgeous as eggplants

and as elegant as a row of corn,

and the others, as plain as potatoes and so good for you;

For funny friends, who are as silly as Brussels sprouts

and as amusing as Jerusalem artichokes,

and serious friends, as complex as cauliflowers

and as intricate as onions;

For friends as unpretentious as cabbages,

as subtle as summer squash,

as persistent as parsley,

as delightful as dill,

as endless as zucchini,

and who, like parsnips,

can be counted on to see you throughout the winter;

For old friends,

nodding like sunflowers in the evening-time

and young friends coming on as fast as radishes;

For loving friends, who wind around us like tendrils

and hold us, despite our blights, wilts, and witherings;

And finally, for those friends now gone,

like gardens past that have been harvested,

but who fed us in their times

that we might have life thereafter;

For all these we give thanks.

—Max Coots


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