As we prepare to welcome family, students, and alumni to Thanksgiving here in Middletown, I send out my best wishes for all of you celebrating the day. I am so grateful for this Wesleyan community of ours—cantankerous and compassionate, exuberant and empathic.
A few years ago, I recalled John Berryman’s great poem for the holiday, and his writing: “we stand again in debt/and find ourselves in the glad position: Gratitude.” It is a glad position! Today, in honor of all those welcoming home students, let me cite Sharon Olds’ lovely “First Thanksgiving.” You can find the full poem here, and it ends like this:
As a child, I caught
bees, by the wings, and held them, some seconds,
looked into their wild faces,
listened to them sing, then tossed them back
into the air—I remember the moment the
arc of my toss swerved, and they entered
the corrected curve of their departure.
May the “correct curve” of your departures be safe and lovely.