Recently, I happened upon a long poem written by Edna St. Vincent Millay in 1950 entitled “Thanksgiving” . I want to excerpt some of it here.
Hard, hard it is, this anxious autumn, To lift the heavy mind from its dark forebodings; To sit at the bright feast, and with ruddy cheer Give thanks for the harvest of a troubled year. The clouds move and shift, withdraw to new positions on the hills; The sky above us is a thinning haze—a patch of blue appears— We yearn toward the blue sky as toward the healing of all our ills; But the storm has not gone over; the clouds come back; The blue sky turns black; And the muttering thunder suddenly crashes close, and once again Flashes of lightening startle the rattling windowpane; Then once more pours and splashes down the cold, discouraging rain.…….> God bless the harvest of this haggard year; Pity our hearts, that did so long for Peace; Deal with us kindly: there are many here Who love their fellow man (and may their tribe increase). But cunning and guile persist; ferocity empowers The lifted arm of the aggressor: the times are bad. Let us give thanks for the courage that was always ours; And pray for the wisdom which we never had. . . . . From the apprehensive present, from a future packed With unknown dangers, monstrous, terrible and new— Let us turn for comfort to this simple fact: We have been in trouble before . . . and we came through
It’s been eighty-one years since Millay wrote this poem, but she could easily have written it today.This November has been harrowing. After four years with a sociopath in the White House who is now perpetrating the lie that he didn’t lose the election this month, continuing the chaos, challenging the U.S. constitution, and getting almost 75 million Americans to agree with him.
Will democracy prevail? Will we come through?