Screen Shot 2015-11-26 at 9.38.49 AMIn a year marked by images of families displaced by war and a little boy washed up on a Turkish beach, pause to be grateful for the precious things in life; those glorious obscurities we take for granted, like freedom, drinking water, ample food, shelter and health.

Following is a version of a poem I read at a poetry contest in West Philly this past fall that I thought was appropriate for today. Be grateful for the little things in life on this Thanksgiving Day.


Wildflowers On The Shoulder Of The Road In A Traffic Jam


You brag that you are grateful for your four children and five grandchildren

like you should win the Nobel Peace Prize for loving your loved ones,

as if the Prophet never said love your enemies, and those who persecute you,

or something like that.


Rather, be grateful for the glorious obscurities in life,

Those latent mysteries that catch you off guard and lighten your burden,

bring a smile you can’t suppress in spite of the traffic jam at rush hour,

like the café cashier who can’t tell the difference between a latte and an espresso,

while you wait impatiently in line all judgmental

deciding the dark lenses in the barista’s glasses are for show,

just like the Gaelic knots tattooed on her wrists,

until you notice the silver stick leaning against the counter to her left,

which draws your attention to her determined expression

as she walks to the counter confidently and places your espresso down

with such care you feel as though the café is empty except for the two of you,

and her smile strips you of your inhibitions

as you reach out and lightly touch the back of her hand with three fingers,

and when she lowers her head you see behind her glasses

glossy eyes peering blankly into the back of those dark lenses,

a sight that reminds you that you are watching the gaze of the sightless

with your own two eyes,

and you say to her, “Thank goodness for each good last breath,”

to which she replies,


“Or something like that.”

jim brennan



About Jim Brennan

Jim is a Philadelphia-based writer, author, poet and editor for the Schuylkill Valley Journal.
This entry was posted in Running and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Gratefulness

  1. Sophie33 says:

    Well written, dear Jim! Thank you! x


  2. Thank you for these words.


  3. LB says:

    Had to read this three times, Jim. Thank you for the reminder to be grateful for the little, and the big things.


  4. Patrick says:

    Terrific Jim!! Thankful!! and Love those “moments”


Comments are closed.