After feast 

The Feast of Words continues. Today we move into the fullness of reflection. Like a good meal, gratitude fills and slows to show us all we have — and all we could lose.

Today, poems from Rick Campbell and Ann Staley.

Rick Campbell, of Florida, is a poet, professor and the director of Anhinga Press:

Rainbow on Winding Creek

When the rain fell fat
drops splattered my head
and shirt like water ballons
falling from the sky.  At the gate
the bluest rainbow arched
over the dirt road, beginning
and end, both touched earth.
I walked over in the name
of science to discover if a man
could pass through a rainbow
and come out the man he was.
No.  When a man walks
through a rainbow he never returns.
He lives in Kansas, as if in witness
protection.  His daughter, whom he left
on the porch waits and waits. The rain
stops. The sun sets. Darkness falls
and her Dad never comes home.
She gets cards postmarked from Tulsa,
Enid, Dumas, Dalhart, just pictures
of cattle, fences, long skies and thick clouds.
No words, but in the bottom
corner a crude fleur de lis.
She knows it’s him. She wants to believe
he’ll come back, that he didn’t just
walk away in the rain. She loves him
but he’s afraid that too faded
away when the light that fell through
clouds, shekinahs for believers,
shifted a few degrees west
and the rainbow was gone.

— Rick Campbell


Ann Staley, a poet and teacher living in Oregon, reminds us that the ordinary is quickly turned extraordinary:

Giving Thanks  

We pulled out of our driveway at 2 p.m.
Taking a bottle of red and a chilled white, a baguette.
Humboldt Fog Blue and a Tumalo Farms Classico,
also a present for the hostess and a book of poetry.
We drove across the valley, about an hour to Sweet Home,
where a table was set for twenty-two plus
a couple of toddlers and a new baby named Desmond.
Folks had flown in from Chicago, Seattle and Redlands,
driven from Portland, Eugene, Corvallis,
a house full of guests, some staying for the week,
the weekend or overnight, with a fabulous breakfast
promised in the morning.  

At 5 pm I was in the living room by the fireplace
telling my friend Ted about our Italy adventure,
all the details including the Opal we’d rented
in Zurich and driven 2000 km on Eye-talian
freeways and backroads, including up over the Alps
and down into Switzerland, a hair-raising event filled
with U-turns, backing up for buses filled with nuns and tourists.

I was drinking a glass of wine when Dave motioned me into
the kitchen and then to the bathroom just beyond
where Courtney was throwing up into the toilet,
had shed his wet trousers and boxers
and was stretched-out on the bathroom floor, a pillow under his head.
In his overnight case I found dry jeans, and then
we waited for the EMTs.  

When they arrived his blood pressure was 36/50.
A few minutes later it had improved to 50/80,
and while the EMT’s pressed about 12 little heart monitors
onto his chest, I began to wonder if I was going
to be phoning his mother and sister and brothers,
planning — you know — a funeral. Still, by the time the EMT’s had finished,
Courtney’s heart was beating at something akin to normal,
and he could take a few steps down the stairs
& lie down on the stretcher that went into the ambulance.  

Two friends, Lisa and Lili, accompanied me as
we followed that ambulance about 15 miles to the nearest
Emergency Room where we ate some turkey and dressing
and pearl onions and waited for the E-Room’s
Doctor Rose to appear on the scene.
After our holiday dinner, I went back to wait with CC.
He was lucid, smiling, and I chided him:
If you ever wet your pants in public again, I will have to divorce you.
We laughed. And began to think like normal people again.
No funeral. Just a ride home after the other tests and bloodwork.
I returned to the dinner, having missed all of it, to cheers
of happiness and thanks-giving. Courtney would live
to taste another turkey and to celebrate next time.  

Now we’re back home. Champagne and candle light.
With plans for breakfast and a walk along the Willamette,
gray and fulsome, trees dropping leaves,
snow expected on the mountain passes.
Whatever “Black Friday” is about, I could care less.
It was a dark Thursday night, and tomorrow
the sun will rise whether we see it or not. 

— Ann Staley
Thanksgiving 2011



A Feast of Words for Thanks Giving 

My husband pronounces today's holiday with an emphasis on the thanks, as in THANKS-giving. He does the same with UM-brella. Is this a Pittsburgh dialect? (as in redd-up? or yinz?) or just a Davidism? Either way, I am thankful for his natural emphasis on gratitude.

Let the feast continue! We've got a buffet, with word offerings from Candice Crossley, Ruth Harrison, Fred Strauss, and Paulann Petersen.

Reader Candice Crossley opens today's feast with wise words:

If the only prayer you ever say in your

entire life is "Thank you," it will be enough.

— Meister Eckhart


The following poem, by Ruth Harrison of Waldport, Oregon, is a pantoum first published in Harp Strings Poetry Journal.

Breaking Bread:  a grace for mealtimes

Thank first the wheat, that lately stood alive
and amber, silvering in each change of wind.
Next: yeast, whose lively villages must thrive
to lift the dough to life of any kind.

Amber turned silver in the change of wind
--we feed on earth caught up through root and grain
expanding to lift life of any kind--
we feed on earth, and on her partner rain.

We feed on earth caught up through root and grain ...
Thank next:  roots white and hot, transformed, and bless
dark soil that feeds us and its partner rain:
these lives join ours to rise in consciousness.

Thank now  roots white and hot, transformed, and bless,
these leaves in green expression of the soil,
whose lives join ours to rise in consciousness
and feed our energy for daily toil.

These leaves give green expression to the soil.
Hardest and last, we thank you, gentle beast.
You daily feed our energy for toil;
your life subsumed in ours, in ours released.

Hardest and last, we thank you, gentle beast.
who never harmed us, yet whose life we take:
your life subsumed in ours, in ours expressed:
In joining our adventure, may you wake.

You never harmed us, all whose lives we take.
Thanks, yeast:  your lively villages once thrived.
Conscious of shared adventure may you wake.
Thanks first to wheat, who lately stood alive.

— Ruth Harrison


Fred Strauss, a writer living in Tidewater, Oregon, shares a poem noting the pleasures (and pitfalls) of art, nature and good intention.

Basil Around the Easel

I set up an easel to paint all my sunsets,
escape my dumb sets, ignore many
subsets. But, out from our sky flew too
much goo. So there sits my easel
colored in plants, garden ants, scarecrow
pants. Never been used, badly abused
no hues have accrued. Accused of being
an ornament, a bangle, a jangle. Sadly,
it urges the ground around grow up make
this a harbor. Gladly to die for me and my
ardor. A frame takes the blame.

— Fred Strauss


We'll wrap up today's meal with a poem from Paulann Petersen, Oregon's Poet Laureate:

A Thanksgiving Grace

From us—here amid the blessing
of such good company—our gratitude.

For the bounty that draws us
around this laden table, our praise.

As we give our thanks, we celebrate
abundance: these fruits of the earth,

this bloom of family and friends
gathered here from nearby, from afar.

- Paulann Petersen


Our Feast of Words celebrates the power of gratitude through words. I am thankful, and grateful too, for friends, family, readers and writers who share these words with me, with you.

The Feast is not over! We've still got dessert. Keep those poems, paragraphs, prayers and praises coming. We'll be feasting all week. Send your word-works to dcm@drewmyron.


The feast begins

Peter Holsapple

Welcome to the Thanks Giving Feast of Words.

When I called for thankful-themed writing, I had no idea the response would be so swift and rich. I'm delighted with the offerings. We'll be feasting all week!

We'll start out with two pieces, from Ann Staley and Cathy Murphy. 

To set a thankful tone, poet and teacher Ann Staley, from Corvallis, Oregon, shares an Inuit Song:

And I thought over again
My small adventures
As with a shore-wind I drifted out
In my kayak
And thought I was in danger,

My fears
Those small ones 
That I thought so big
For all the vital things
I had to get and to reach

And yet, there is only
One great thing,
The only thing:
To live to see in huts and on journeys
The great day that dawns,
And the light that fills the world.

Our next piece comes from Cathy Murphy, a teacher living in Sacramento, California.


Gifts given, over a two-week span, to a first grade teacher for her birthday

Golden gumball machine rings
A sparkly silver pencil (sans eraser)
Half a Pop Tart
Bits of red string
A broken plastic Easter egg
Coloring book pages, some blank, some not, some addressed to former best friends
Misspelled notes and pencil drawings
Shiny beads, hair bands
A single white frosted animal cracker wrapped in a used paper napkin
Two Skittles, half an eraser
A note enclosed in a partial envelope wrapped in torn paper and tied with cassette tape
Plastic gemstones, a friendship bracelet
Playground pebbles with flecks of shiny granite
A penny, a ruler, a caterpillar
Books with torn pages and crayon scribbles
A still-warm slice of sweet potato pie
Two inches of pale blue ribbon with three navy blue stars
An old stuffed rabbit with one button eye and no tail
A fuzzy green Lifesaver, a broken purple crayon
Two princess dominoes, a grocery store gift card
A plastic flower, a silk flower
Four purple and two pink roses from Gaby’s backyard
Part of a homemade burrito, teeth marks on one end, beans oozing out the other
A dried out green marker
Three strings of Mardi gras beads
A plastic refrigerator magnet, maroon, capital Q
Quarter-inch diamond-shaped pieces of mirrored plastic
A used white eraser with the initials AM
Two sheets of car stickers
A song
Salvaged fuzzy-backed princess stickers
A plastic flower bead, a carrot
Three tangerines, four apples, a bruised pear
The embossed flower cut off the top left corner of a check
And a deck of 49 playing cards

— Cathy Murphy


Would you like to share? Please send your poems, paragraphs, prayers and praises by email to In this feast of words, more is merry.


A feast of words! A potluck of poems! 

 Austin Kleon - artist/writer

In the spirit of thanks giving, let's feast!

I've set the table and I'm ready to eat. Please share with me your poems, prayers, paragraphs & praise.

Send me your words — small starts, lines of hope, your stories, your flash, your fiction, your long list or one true thing.

I'll collect and gather, and post your works here. Got a blog or a book? Send a link, and pass the potatoes.

To take part, simply post your thankful-themed word-works in the comment section below, or email me at

It's the season of gratitude. Let us savor and share.



Thankful Thursday: Young Poets

I spent the week at Seashore Family Literacy. On this Thankful Thursday, I am thankful for young readers and writers who fill me and stretch me, and write sweet notes.

It's Thankful Thursday! Gratitude. Appreciation. Praise. Please join me in a weekly pause to appreciate the people, places & things that bring joy. What are you thankful for today?