Friday, November 29, 2013

Two Poems on Thanksgiving



Every Thanksgiving
I would drive,
   or go to a café
           to refresh myself
           to dig deeper
           or let my thoughts
               find the fire,
                       the Indians, the maze
                       the Pilgrims, the turkeys
           and how they ate, drank, hugged, and danced—
                sweet memories of the brotherhood of men

    < Take this crossbow or your matchlock,
         go to that spot; there will be plenty of deers, beavers, or rabbits

    Take this spear, train your eyes, learn the movement of the fish;
                aim your spear and strike

    Grow this corn in blocks, learn its times, then collect your crop

           Go to the hillcrest with me tonight to listen the wolves
               howling at the moon;
               feel that calling, longing
               the whole earth, the moon, night sky seem echoing that howling-calling;
               your heart wants to join in that unity
                              and sip the drops of the moon

       Let’s dance this corn dance: hear the joy’s rhythm, turn your body, kick your feet
              up and down like this …
              Do you see how our people thank the gods and Mother Nature’
              Do you see how we communicate with  them ?  >

Stories like those soothe the heart and lift spirit

And, this year, I would listen to my daughter
                            play “Colors of the Wind” again
                            even though I doubt the romance between
                            Smith and Pocahontas,
                            but the fostering behind,
                                  a gift born out of sudden
                                        realization that
                                        men do not win with wars
                                        is always a great reminder

and, again, I think of Abraham Lincoln, that bearded face and gentle heart,
    who made Thanksgiving a national holiday

I am giving thanks to America,
      its soldiers who died in my old country,
             its people for the caring heart

   We came in ships, or boats,
      from tents in Guam, Wake islands, or Thailand, Malaysia etc.—
         heart broken, spirit shattered
                        after the war
   You opened your arms to take us in;
   gave us a chance to live and work
                and put a roof on our heads
   None of us will ever forget this heart-warming
                       kindness and generosity.

This country has given my old fellow countrymen
                  care and services;
It has enlightened the sense of Freedom in me
It has “given” me Patrick Henry, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson;
          delighted me with “The Pursuit of Happiness”,
          shined and resounded in my heart  
                with its crowned “ The Declaration of Independence”         

Rain falls again
       this second day of Thanksgiving weekend
       in this wonderful County of the Angels, Los Angeles
Certainly it will enrich the soil;
New shoots certainly wish to thank the sweet, beautiful drops.
          if they can speak our languages,
                for bestowing their regeneration

If this earth usually receives frequent rains of
                                         benevolence and kindness,
    then many a great harmony and bond
              will appear among men, animals and things
                       like shoots of life, miracle, and peace
       as chapters in Buddhists’ sutras
                     open our hearts and minds to
                           do good, live in peace, harmony
                                   and reap the rewards of
                                         Happiness and Tranquility.

Wherever you are, especially in our old fatherland,
even if life has slipped into a
                   very sad, downgrade turn
  I believe, you would still have something to give thanks to
         ( it’s a matter of calculating chances in life )
and don’t forget
    Life sometimes has to come to some great hurdles, or dead ends
    but keep up your Spirit, your Hope
            and your Overcoming Determination

                  O, Gratia Magna
           Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Hiền Minh
Thanksgiving 2013
Los Angeles, Calif.


On Thanksgiving Day 

The day started fresh-- 
clear inauguration of warmth and remembrance 

Drove down the road 
to the coffee shop, sat down, 
let the thoughts find way to converge 

Man swim to the other shore 
on their last breath before succumbing 
to say 
          I love you 

There were things to embrace 
The open horizon widened and widened 

Thanks, Luu Quang Vu, Ha Si Phu, Hoang Minh Chinh 
Thanks, Loretta 
and others 
Once the brotherhood of men is not a mere word, 
it is real 
as the tears in the eyes, 
as hands holding hands in grace; 
history is roaming aimlessly. 

Nov. 25, 2000 

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