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Thanksgiving 2022

Today’s the day we gather and embrace
The chance to join in praise for gifts we share.
We cuddle, chat and chortle—face-to-face.
We’re social souls not meant to sit and stare
At frigid screens where warmth is out of reach—
Cold pixels can’t replace a tender touch.
The miracle of flesh and blood gives each
Of us the human bond that means so much.
Today’s the day of feasting, prayers and pleasure;
Of bonhomie and bounties here on earth;
A banquet for the hungry heart—a measure
Of just how much another’s hug is worth.
Today’s the day to ditch the virtual sphere
And revel in some real-life love and cheer.

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Susan Jarvis Bryant has poetry published on Lighten Up Online, Snakeskin, Light, Sparks of Calliope, and Expansive Poetry Online. She also has poetry published in TRINACRIA, Beth Houston’s Extreme Formal Poems anthology, and in Openings (anthologies of poems by Open University Poets in the UK). Susan is the winner of the 2020 International SCP Poetry Competition, and has been nominated for the 2022 Pushcart Prize.


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27 Responses

  1. jd

    That’s right, Susan. So true and creatively stated.
    Consider yourself hugged even though not ideally.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      jd, I feel the warm hug of your comment and I am most thankful for it. Thank you for supporting my poetry – it means a lot.

      Reply
  2. Jeff Eardley

    Susan, “frigid screens where warmth is out of reach” is a great line. I know we don’t do thanksgiving over here, but we ought to. Hope you have a good one. Best wishes to you both.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Jeff, thank you very much. I am thankful for you and your beautiful words and music. Keep composing, my friend!

      Reply
  3. Cynthia Erlandson

    You’re right, Susan — being back to real life with other people is an extra reason to be thankful this year! And by extension, the fact that what that means is, that enough of us said “no more!” to the dehumanizing lockdown policies and virtue-signaling control freaks that told us to stay away from our families the previous two years. Because, if we hadn’t said “no more!”, those power-hungry elitists would still go on doing just that.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Cynthia, you are right on the “No more!” front. I think we have a few more “no more!” moments heading our way. We must never, ever forget the devastation these lockdowns caused mentally, physically, and financially, and stand up for our freedoms. Cynthia, you are a poet after my own heart and it is an absolute privilege to be on this great site with you. I hope you and Paul had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

      Reply
  4. Shaun C. Duncan

    Well said, Susan. Obviously we don’t do Thanksgiving here in Australia so we’ll all be sitting here in the heat, “liking” pictures of mouth-watering turkey dinners on our phones! Hope you have a great one!

    On a more serious note, your message is an urgent one, particularly after the past couple of years of people being forced to rely more on technology for human interaction even as the tech companies seem hell-bent on stoking hatred and division among the populace.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Shaun, thank you very much for your comment and for your Thanksgiving wishes.

      I am hoping there’s an upside to the lockdowns… an upside that makes us all realise just how much the human touch means. In an age where we’re considered “hackable animals”, mere pieces of conscience-free meat to be programmed to obey our overlords, I hope we will all see just how evil that line of thought is… if we dare to think for ourselves in an age where thought is a crime, that is.

      Reply
  5. Joshua C. Frank

    Susan, all yours are great, but this one is among your best! It really touched my heart, especially the lines:

    “We’re social souls not meant to sit and stare
    At frigid screens where warmth is out of reach—
    Cold pixels can’t replace a tender touch.”

    So many of us have had to live through a time when frigid screens were all we had; I’m sure those lines speak to a lot of people in the same way.

    Well done, and happy Thanksgiving!

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Josh, I am over the moon you think this poem is among my best. I gave it an awful lot of thought. I wanted to tap into a mood… a mood that many would relate to, and I’m thrilled it connected with you. I believe we have taken the human touch for granted… when this is pried slyly away, we then begin to understand what an integral part that touch plays in a healthy, happy life.

      Thank you for your lovely comment and for your Thanksgiving wishes. I hope you had a wonderful day!

      Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Russel, it’s always lovely to hear from you and I thoroughly appreciate your encouraging words… they always spur me on!

      Reply
  6. Brian Yapko

    Susan, this beautiful and engaging holiday sonnet is deceptively simple because it is not just about having a happy holiday — it is much profounder than that. It goes to the very crux of what it means to be human and to love… to have that “hungry heart” which alone can know the measure “Of just how much a another’s hug is worth.” Physical contact with others — especially loved ones — means a lot and, consequently, your poem is a direct indictment of the contact that is lost because of our attachment to technology (Zoom, Skype and WhatsApp will never be a substitute for reality.) Perhaps I’m stretching a bit, but I also see application of your critique to the inhuman quarantines that were foisted upon the ill and dying when the covid overlords decided that a stupifyingly ill-conceived fight against the virus was worth giving up the most essential things which make humanity worth preserving. But even if I’m projecting a bit it just goes to show how relevant your poetic idea is. I admire and share your disdain for those “frigid screens” — and even as I do so, I can’t help but note the irony of writing these words on a computer rather than sharing my thoughts with you face to face!

    I hope you and Mike had a happy and hug-filled Thanksgiving!

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Brian, I love the way you read my poetry and always get what I’m trying to say. You also spot the intricacies of the writing process. It’s those deceptively simple sonnets that I give more of myself and my time to. I’m sure it’s the same for many. The clearer and plainer one strives to be, the harder it is to find exactly the right words. This poem was a tricky one. Every perspicacious observation you have made, I had in mind. Your views are not a stretch at all. You have explained my poem to a tee.

      I could feel your concern for our eroding freedoms in your Thanksgiving poetry… that taste of what we’ll miss if we’re not careful and grateful. After being masked, locked down and lied to, I have a feeling many are more grateful to be in the company of others this year. I hope you took full advantage of the wonders of the human touch, Brian, and had yourself a happy, hug-filled Thanksgiving too. Thank you for your continued encouragement and your wonderful comment.

      Reply
  7. Sally Cook

    Dear Susan –

    Now you know why I hate electronics so much ! Maybe there should be some sort of exam leading to a Competency in Computer Use?
    There would be a section on interesting content, too.

    Every holiday season I think of people I would love to SEE but cannot FIND. Electronically, yes. But as real flesh and blood human folks, not so much.

    Pretend for a minute I could stroll in your door, hand you a bottle of “Red Cat” – a local favorite from a small local winery,, flop on your couch; scoop up King George in a cat-enveloping hug,and listen as you tell me all the things you wouldn’t say on phone or e-mail. Then I’d do the same !

    This poem is nail on the head, Susan. Hope you and yours had a good one !

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Dear Sally, you have managed to point out in your comment (so beautifully it’s brought tears to my eyes) exactly why our techno world can never, ever rival the real one. A visit from you would bring warmth and joy to the Mike, Susan, and King George household… and I would love to have one of those chats that are a dwindling luxury these days… one where you can look into the eyes of the one you’re speaking to and know that they know exactly who you are… a marvel that’s lost in a text message or an email. Sally, thank you… your comment is a poem in itself… one that’s made my day!

      Love to you and to Bob from me, Mike, and King George x

      Reply
  8. Anna J. Arredondo

    Susan,

    I enjoyed your lovely Thanksgiving poem, the day after spending the holiday much as you describe. As a few others have already mentioned, I also love the phrase, “cold pixels can’t replace a tender touch.”

    I am in fact thankful for the technology to connect by screen with those who are geographically out warm-hug range; when the bonhomie and warm hugs are just a short drive away, those screens are a sorry counterfeit.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Anna, thank you very much for this. I have to admit that I would be lost without those cold pixels… I rely on them with my friends and family living in the UK and in Sweden… but every time I talk, I want more, so much more… it makes me ache. If someone lives nearby, it’s a real luxury to indulge in conversation face-to-face… one I’m growing ever more grateful for.

      Reply
  9. Margaret Coats

    Susan, as others have indicated, this is not only a good holiday poem, but an important and necessary one for this sad time in history. I recently met a longtime friend who refused to come to my home or invite me to hers (as we formerly did), but showed up at the outdoor-seating restaurant wearing a mask around her neck. To her credit, she never put it on her face. Still, the experience shows how individuals and groups have allied themselves with tyrants as foes of natural and highly beneficial social interaction. Their motive may be fear, or a wish to ingratiate themselves with tyranny, or the desire to show solid commitment to tyrannical thinking. In any of these three cases, we have human beings devoted to the cause of de-humanization because they see other values as more important. That includes persons who have recently advocated NOT meeting family to celebrate whatever we celebrate, but only getting together with others who agree with us. But family is that “banquet for the hungry heart” teaching us to acknowledge the worth of everyone, well knowing we may disagree with our nearest and dearest. Your poem puts a new and welcome dish on my table!

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Margaret, I am thrilled my poem has put a new and welcome dish on your table. You have explained with clarity the sad new world we live in. So many families are now fractured because of something as ridiculous as a personal medical choice… something we would have laughed at before 2020; something that has caused such a bitter division, it’s hard to see the way back to sanity. While technology has been excellent for connecting people, it has also been the excuse to keep people away from one another. That’s the exact problem with the war we’re in now… the very thing that makes our lives easier and entertains us, is also our enemy on so many levels. I fear we are yet to reap the full force of evil sown by those who are striving to make us no more than “hackable animals.” Perhaps it’s time to reevaluate the benefits and pitfalls of the way we have chosen to live our lives. Perhaps it’s time to turn our backs on technology and get together more often… there’s power in numbers. Thank you very much for your generous comment.

      Reply
  10. C.B. Anderson

    Now I think I know, Susan, why I don’t think that you are a big fan of American football. Tell me that I’m wrong.

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      C.B., you’re right. I had almost got my head around the rules and began to enjoy the sport… when… well you know the rest. 😉

      Reply
      • C.B. Anderson

        No, Susan, I do not know the rest. I’ve become something of an addict to American football, and Thanksgiving Day, for me, would not be complete without it. I hope that’s not a sign of my complete moral dissolution. But I wonder, is there any equivalent holiday in England? If so or if not, you apparently have embraced a hallowed tradition on these shores.

      • Susan Jarvis Bryant

        I thoroughly appreciate your love of sport, C.B. I used to be a huge sports fan… until it got political. I was going to watch the FIFA World Cup England V USA match in Qatar, but it’s all rainbows and rancor.

  11. Theresa Dould Cummings

    I am no poet in your caliber by no means. I have enjoyed poetry since being introduced to it as a child by my mother 65 years ago. I started writing the occasional couplet and bits of verse ever sense. I admire your take on Covid and the lockdowns we have all had to succumb to. I have also witnessed death by this horrid illness. I had the foresight to be inoculated whenever it was offered. Those who scoffed at my endeavors were unfortunately those who should have taken the various precautions offered. Some can fight this virus and some cannot; discovering which was which is not recommended, at least by me and what I have seen. I am no scientist. Only a would be poet and writer un living in a nursing facility on Cape Cod. Pax Terry

    Reply
  12. Theresa Dould Cummings

    Susan, thank you for the many hours I have had reading your poetry and the work of the other poets on this meaningful website! I have become a dutiful student in this living Pantheon of delightful teachers! One day I shall be brave and contribute one of my own poems! Terry

    Reply
    • Susan Jarvis Bryant

      Terry, thank you very much for reading my poetry and for your lovely comments. I am pleased to hear you have remained healthy during Covid and sorry to hear some scoffed at your decision. To my mind, everyone should be entitled to make an informed, personal decision and no one should be forced into making a decision that is wrong for them. I hope you summon up the courage to submit some of your poetry… I look forward to reading it. Keep writing and smiling. 🙂

      Reply

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