Thanksgiving; a Sonnet for my American Friends

thanksgivingThere is no feast of Thanksgiving in either the British national or church calendars, but it seems to me a good thing for any nation to set aside a day for the gratitude which is in truth the root of every other virtue. So I am re-posting here  an Englishman’s act of thanksgiving. As always you can hear the poem by clicking on the play button if it appears or on the title.

I composed this as part of a friendly competition with some American poets to compose Petrarchan sonnets on the theme of Thanksgiving. Check out this Excellent Sonnet from my friend the academic and poet Holly Ordway. You will see that we have both been influenced by the ideas and language of CS Lewis’s fellow inkling Charles Williams.

This sonnet comes from my sequence Sounding the Seasonswhich came out last year with Canterbury Press. since we don’t keep thanksgiving I have made it part of a mini-sequence of three centred on the feast of All Saints, which we have recently celebrated. The image that follows the poem is by Margot Krebs Neale


Thanksgiving starts with thanks for mere survival,
Just to have made it through another year
With everyone still breathing. But we share
So much beyond the outer roads we travel;
Our interweavings on a deeper level,
The modes of life that embodied souls can share,
The unguessed blessings of our being here,
The warp and weft that no one can unravel.

So I give thanks for our deep coinherence
Inwoven in the web of God’s own grace,
Pulling us through the grave and gate of death.
I thank him for the truth behind appearance,
I thank him for his light in every face,
I thank him for you all, with every breath.

Image by Margot Krebs Neale


Filed under literature, Poems

6 responses to “Thanksgiving; a Sonnet for my American Friends

  1. Charles Walton

    Dear Malcolm,

    Thanksgiving in Canada is the second Monday in October. Just so you know, we are different than the USA — and not just in dates!

    Katharine and I enjoyed your visit to Winnipeg this past year. Hope you are able to return soon. Your time among us at St. Ben’s will be treasured for a long time.


    Charles+. (Walton)

    Sent from my iPhone

  2. Ronald Adinolfi

    When we were in Cambridge it was so difficult to convey the loss of that holiday which was just another Thursday there. And you are so right to pick out the theme of survival and better things to come. We have made another step on that journey home and that the temporal holiday is an intimation of the greater Thanksgiving homecoming and feast to come. Thank you for sharing your gift.

  3. Pingback: Malcolm Guite’s Thanksgiving Sonnet | Revision 3

  4. And we in America are thankful for you!

  5. Randy Groover

    I agree with Gretchen O’Donnell! Thank you for your poetry and your music. You’re a talented man!

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