One fall day many years ago, when the wind was gusting and leaves, golden and red, cartwheeled across the street, I suddenly felt inspired to write an ode to the season. I was thinking of the kind of fulsome, simple poem that my father sometimes read to us. (When he wasn’t baffling us with things like The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.) I went home and wrote The Harvest in Our Hearts and it’s been part of my family’s Thanksgiving tradition ever since.
I’d like to share it with you along with a new painting that Julie Paschkis generously gave me permission to use. It’s a piece for a two-person show at the Seattle Art Museum’s café, TASTE, in May. Keep your eyes open for it!
Thanks to my fellow bloggers Julie Paschkis, Julie Larios, Margaret Chodos-Irving and Laura Kvasnosky, and HAPPY THANKSGIVING to all who read our blog. You are all part of the harvest in my own heart.
The Harvest in Our Hearts
by Bonny Becker
It was the dawn of winter
and the table was set for feasting.
The silver was polished, the fire ablaze.
The turkey at last done with roasting.
We had just then raised a glass to toast
the harvest and the day,
when there came a knock at the door,
and a stranger blew in and seated himself saying,
“Room for one more?”
He wasn’t the kind to argue with. He was wide and tall and brawny.
His robes were worked in the richest threads
of brown and red and tawny.
His head was wreathed with an herbal crown;
He smelled of smoke and cold, and it seemed when he sat
that leaves fell down in a whirl of red and gold.
“Who are you?” I dared to ask, but he merely smiled
and demanded a glass of his own.
He surveyed our board and seemed to judge, weighing its merit,
assessing the richness of each dish, the quality of the claret.
Beneath his gaze it was odd to note our table grew more rich.
The silver gleamed more deep; the candles burned more bright.
Our fire stood more securely against the winter night.
He nodded. This god approved.
“Be warm, eat well, be gay.
Each season has its moment;
Each moment slips away.”
Thus saying, he, too, began to fade like smoke in the autumn wind,
but his words still lingered as we raised our glasses again.
“Here’s to friends and harvest
to winter days and rain.
Here’s to those who are with us
and to those we’ll not see again.
Here’s to fall and feasting,
to good wine and good cheer.
Here’s to the harvest in our hearts
in the winter of the year.”