A Bouquet of Early Gratitude

I give thanks for the sweet bouquet of my childhood,
for bursting into the world in a windy city, for toddling
down the sidewalks of Stuttgart in a blue cotton dress
that billowed like a sail, and for baby brother Bill, born
with a cosmos of kissable freckles.

I give thanks for scratchy woolen mittens clipped to my
coat sleeves on snowy days in Detroit, for my turquoise
poodle skirt worn for a month until I tore off its chain leash
with constant fiddling, and for Rachel who died of “room-attic”
fever in her big house down the street.

I give thanks for the white coat with sleeves rolled up ten
times dragging behind me like a bridal gown and the Rosary
of a stethoscope Papa hung around my neck on mornings
when we rounded at the hospital and he called me Princess
and I believed him.

I give thanks for iceskating on thin ice and not dying,
for setting fires in refrigerator boxes and surviving,
for knowing without a doubt that all the stories ever told
or written were true, and for the 8-color paintbox with one
fat brush Mama gave me on my seventh birthday.

I give thanks for lacy white socks and the plastic pearl
missal I received on my first holy communion, and for
singing “Tantum ergo sacramentum, veneremur cernui”
like an angel at High Mass, though I had no idea what it meant
and still don’t.

I give thanks for hoiliday weekends on Chesapeake Bay,
the pungent aroma of fresh crustaceans bubbling in a campfire
crab-pot, for the clicking of cards being shuffled at my parents’
bridge parties and spying on them from the stairs for hours,
and for being encouraged to roller-skate in our third floor ballroom.


Hooray for Day 25 of NaPoWriMo!  Our optional prompt today was to write a poem using “Anaphora, a literary term for the practice of repeating certain words or phrases at the beginning of multiple clauses or, in the case of a poem, multiple lines…Allen Ginsberg used it in ‘Howl,’ …[and it was a featured in] Martin Luther King Jr’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech [as well].

Poodle skirt photo from hiphop50sshop.

13 thoughts on “A Bouquet of Early Gratitude

  1. So sweet! I had a poodle skirt too! LOL (with white socks and saddle shoes:). And ice skating on thin ice… And I give thanks for your poem that has resurrected a bunch of my own memories to ponder… I can’t speak to structure and form, but what it evokes in me – heart smiles… And those are the best kind…


    • Thanks, Christine. I appreciate your stoping by these woods. It’s funny how when you start to write about gratitude the damn breaks and a zillion memories pour out. I had to stop myself…save the next wave for another time. All the best.


  2. I’m truly in awe that you’ve written a poem every day this month and each so different. I’m inspired to do a poetry course– perhaps end of summer after I put together the anthology.


    • I think you would love the process of daily poeming, cg, though, holy cow!, it’s a demanding endeavor. I’d love reading your poetry, seeing how you’d rise to the challenges. Thanks for reading my stuff!


  3. i loved the flashes of images and i never knew that this was a type of poem (of course, my lack of knowledge of poetry is legendary) but it is the type of poem i’ve loved best. btw, i heard him read the howl in santa monica as well as another poem about dying and not being able to get it up anymore. writing conference, amazing. i feel blessed to have heard him live.


  4. I love this bouquet of thanks. I like what you selected and how you described each: all good — even Rachel.

    I like the phrases that pop up in your daily poems, like “cosmos of kissable freckles”. I like your stories like the one here about the hospital rounds.


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