Canadian Thanksgiving; a Sonnet for my Canadian Friends

The true North Strong and Free (on the Victoria Ferry!)

The True North Strong and Free (on the Victoria Ferry!)

As this Monday 10th October is Thanksgiving Day in Canada I am posting here a sonnet for Thanksgiving which I have written for all  my North American friends. But today I am particularly grateful for the hospitality I recieved  from Steve Bell, and the good people at St. Bendict’s Table and St. Benedict’s Monastery, and from David Jennings

There 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 here is 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.

This sonnet comes from my sequence Sounding the Seasons published by 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.

you can hear me read the poem by clicking on the title or the ‘play button 


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 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.


Filed under literature, Poems

17 responses to “Canadian Thanksgiving; a Sonnet for my Canadian Friends

  1. Judith M M Buck Glenn

    Thanks so much!–speaking as a Canadian.

  2. Thanks Malcolm and happy Canadian Thanksgiving to you. 🙂

  3. conniebraun

    Dear Malcolm,

    Reflecting on the words that have fed me, as I visited your class with Roy and David, and the poems, I am very thankful. I especially carry in my heart your encouragement (you won’t remember) when I asked you about the present day refugee crises and a reading about my own refugee past I was to give, interweaving those poems with new ones that address welcome in response to these these times….

    Today at the dinner table when my children are here, I would like to read your poem.

    Be well.

    With gratitude,

    Sent from my iPhone

  4. savagesue

    Dear Malcolm, Thank you for that poem. I am a friend of the late Caroline Hamilton and have heard of you via her.

    So Happy Thanksgiving to you as well.

    Susan Savage >

    • malcolmguite

      Thank you Susan. Caroline was a hugely important person for my wife and we went together to visit her grave on Saltspring

  5. Reblogged this on A Pilgrim in Narnia and commented:
    A Thanksgiving Sonnet by poet and Christian thinker Malcolm Guite on Canadian Thanksgiving Day!

  6. Ross LOCKHART

    Thanks Malcolm! Blessings from Vancouver!

  7. Fenella Temmerman

    From my home in Winnipeg, with family roots in England, now living temporarily in Australia I give thanks for your poem. I give thanks too because it holds the embrace of struggle and of great joy which is the lived reality of many whom I know and for those my heart yearns.

  8. Joe R. Christopher

    Hmm. I didn’t realize Brits used “you all” (as in your last line). I hear it all the time here in Texas. (Of course, I realize that your meter puts the accent on the “all,” but “yall” doesn’t pay much attention to meter anyway. )

  9. Pingback: To pray and feast and give thanks | Love, the driving force: a journey of discernment

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