11/22/2012 02:27 am ET Updated Jan 21, 2013

Day of Thanks, or Vice Verse -a

On the one hand, Thanksgiving is a day to acknowledge all the reasons we have to be thankful. On the other, its very existence may suggest we are less thankful than we might be every other day! Mother's Day is like that, too, I suppose -- if we thanked Mom for all she did all the time, she might not need a day to remind us of our customary neglect!

But I do need that day, and this one, and I suspect I have plenty of company. I am incredibly fortunate, and truly, deeply grateful for it. But I forget day to day. I forget because petty aggravations obscure my view of the treasure that surrounds me (mostly in the form of people I love). I forget because ambition and contentment are forever warring -- as Goethe told us in Faust.

Most days, I let one thing or another distract me from the bountiful reasons I have to be thankful. But I do, on occasion, reflect deeply on the tensions between striving and cherishing. And when those reflections take me over, they often engender a poem. Those tend to be the places I store my epiphanies -- or what passes for them.

Here, then, are some such -- collectively, thoughts about thanks, and my regrettable tendency to look past what matters most days. But not today!

Lights out

At times my aspirations aim
Beyond the farthest
star- and of course my
greatest efforts never
take me near
so far.

So I fail the
destination though I strive as
'er I might; all I manage in the
effort is to fail to
see the light.


Next hill

the bar aloft yon
distant hill, a
beacon to my yearning will

for from such height, sure
none could fail the far
side of that bar assail

thus steadfast that
my course defines the
way my will, not
ground inclines

alas, these ardors
not at fault; yet
thwarted with no way
to go; the hill belied both
view and vault: the bar astrides the
vale below.


Other end

all but now
means that once
were ends; ambition
assaults all contentment

before I found
life's gifts
redound, implicit
in the living

but when hopes
and dreams beseech
doubts and fear, they find
them unforgiving.

yet what from
afar is how things
are may be but
where roads bend;

so I may turn and choose
to learn my journey's
other end.


Proper grasp

I have sought to know
the fingers one
by one, the effort each
alone or all collective
might require to properly
contain the petals of
my life and yet not
crush the flower;

to love the lush
and breasty bloom
of summer's pastel
pageant, never seeking
to despise the somber
curtains' Fall.

But some pursuits
that tempt desire
walk the wind
like shadows tossed
by cast-off leaves,
leaving hands deprived
the substance of a catch,

and among these reigns
the subtle flow of
life that flees a desperate
hand as do the moments
cradled gently by a sure
and proper grasp.


Prose is so prosaic (for the better, or the worse)
today I parse my thanks,
for all to see,
in this pot pourri- of verse.

I am far too seldom thankful
As my bounty should impose; and so I
Pledge to make amends
In the daily
Flow of prose.

May confessing now in
Public help absolve my
Mundane curse: to that end
I henceforth here renounce
My thankless vice, in verse!

Wishing one and all many reasons to be thankful- and the presence of mind to render them their due!


Dr. David L. Katz;

For more by David Katz, M.D., click here.

For more on Thanksgiving, click here.