Thanksgiving, 2016: A Poet’s Thanks

Thanks

A poem from 1988 of W.S. Merwin, born 1927 , American.

 

Listen

with the night falling we are saying thank you

 

 

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 Dusk arriving in a house and garden in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

 

we are stopping on the bridges to bow from the railings

 

 

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The Brooklyn Bridge (Variation on an Old Theme), 1939, oil on canvas.  Joseph Stella, 1877-1946, American.  Whitney Museum of (North) American Art, NY

 

we are running out of the glass rooms

 

 

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Windows in the contemporary galleries at MOMA, NY taken through a prism, 2016 

 

with our mouths full of food

 

 

 

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 Glass case with pies, 1962, burlap soaked in plaster, painted with enamel, with pie tins, in glass and metal case.  Claes Oldenburg, born 1929,  American. National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

 

                                                                                                                      to look at the sky

 

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A scene from a 5-channel video installation, The Refusal of Time, by William Kentridge,  at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2012.  William Kentridge, born 1955, South African. 

Its subjects were time and space, and the legacy of colonialism and the industrial revolution.

 

and say thank you

 

 

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we are standing by the water thanking it

 

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 At the Beach, oil on canvas, c. 1914-1916.  William Glackens, 1870-1938, American.  Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, Philadelphia

 

standing by the windows looking out

 

 

 

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Girl at a Window, 1957, oil on canvas.  Balthus (Balthazar Klossowski), 1908-2001, French.  Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

 

in our directions

 

 

 

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Wind From the Sea, tempera on hardboard, 1947.  Andrew Wyeth, 1917-2009.  National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

 

back from a series of hospitals back from a mugging

 

 

 

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 Die.  American People Series #20, oil on canvas, 1967.  Faith Ringgold, born 1930, American.  MOMA, NY

 

after funerals we are saying thank you

 

 

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Woman carrying A Coffin;  c.1936  oil and Duco on panel.  Luis Arenal Bastar, 1909-1985, Mexican.  On exhibit at Philadelphia Museum’s exhibition:  Paint the Revolution:  Mexican Modernism, 1910-1950.  2016.

 

after the news of the dead

whether or not we knew them we are saying thank you

 

 

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Death of a Child, 1919, woodcut.  Ernst Barlach, 1870-1938, Germany.  Metropolitan Museum, New York

 

 

 

 

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over telephones we are saying thank you

 

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 A Western Electric (American) telephone, c.1960

 

 

in doorways and in the backs of cars and in elevators

 

 

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Doorways, Rajasthan, India, 2010

 

 

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Horizontal escalator between the West and East Wings of the National Gallery, Washington, DC 2016

remembering wars and the police at the door

 

 

 

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 Aquiles Serdan and his family firing the shot that initiated the Mexican Revolution in 1910.  He was a shoemaker and had been imprisoned for revolutionary activity against the government of President Diaz.  He died in this fight. Linocut.  Fernando Castro Pacheco, 1918-2013, Mexican.  Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY

 

 

and the beatings on stairs we are saying thank you

 

 

 

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Police Beating (Untitled), 1943; ink, graphite, watercolor on paper.  Norman Lewis, 1909-1979, American. On exhibit at the Pennsylvania Academy of Art, Philadelphia in 2015

 

in the banks we are saying thank you

 

 

 

 

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In a metro station in lower Manhattan, New York, 2016.  I don’t know who the artist  and artisans are.

in the faces of the officials and the rich

 

 

 

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Portrait of Eugene Coppens de Fontenay, 1867, oil on canvas;  James-Jacques-Joseph Tissot, 1836-1902, French.  Philadelphia Art Museum

 

 

and of all who will never change

 

 

 

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 Wayne Gonzales, screen print, 2008:  So Long Suckers, screenprint, 2008.  Wayne Gonzales,  born 1957,  American. Whitney Museum of (north) American Art in 2015.

 

 

we go on saying thank you thank you

 

 

 

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with the animals dying around us

 

 

 

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Blue Ombre, mixed media sculpture, 2016.  Tasha Lewis, American.  On exhibit at the Philadelphia Art Alliance, 2016

 

taking our feelings we are saying thank you

 

 

 

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Culled lamb, 2016, plastic, painted wood, porcelain.  Linda Cordell, American.  On exhibit at the Philadelphia Art Alliance, 2016

 

 

with the forests falling

 

 

 

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The Pine Barrens, New Jersey, August 2015

 

 

faster than the minutes 

 

 

 

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New Year card mailed in 1917 in central New York state

 

of our lives we are saying thank you

 

with the words going out like cells of a brain

 

 

 

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Untitled (Rome), oil paint, wax crayon and graphite, 1962.  Cy Twombly, 1928-2011, American.  Lent by Ealan and Melinda Wingate to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2016.

A man whose ‘art’ empties our minds of words and our museums of art.  The Emperor Augustus will be spinning in his grave with this.  SPQR would have his head off for this.  But they are no more and it is anything goes.

 

with the cities growing over us

 

 

 

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The City Rises, 1910, oil on canvas. Umberto Boccione,   1882-1916, Italian.  Guggenheim, New York

 

 

we are saying thank you faster and faster

 

 

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with nobody listening we are saying thank you

 

 

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Mizaru, covering his eyes, who sees no evil; Kikazaru, covering his ears, who hears no evil; and Iwazaru, covering his mouth, who speaks no evil.  Mahatma Ghandi’s Sabarmati ashram, Ahmedabad, Gujerat.

 

 

thank you we are saying

 

and waving

 

 

 

President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton campaigning in the presidential election, autumn 2016

 

dark though it is

 

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 The lights of Portland, Oregon seen across the Columbia River from Vancouver, Washington state, 2010.

 

 

 

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3 thoughts on “Thanksgiving, 2016: A Poet’s Thanks

  1. WONDERFUL. THANK *YOU.*

    On Tue, Nov 22, 2016 at 8:04 PM, Vin de Vie Wine of Life wrote:

    > Sarah Abraham posted: “Thanks A poem from 1985 of W.S. Merwin, born 1927 , > American. Listen with the night falling we are saying thank you we > are stopping on the bridges to bow from the railings we are running out of > the glass rooms with” >

    Like

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