At some point during the Thanksgiving meal (or any meal), taking a moment to acknowledge all we have with whoever we are with is a fine way to give thanks and climb right into the moment.

Here are our favorite blessings — which all can be said/read aloud, as a grace or a toast — though just privately taking a moment is great as well.

The poet Gary Snyder has written some amazing words on the practice. In his home, family and friends take a moment to say the Buddhist grace, above; it is about perfect.

Bob Dylan’s classic Forever Young, which he wrote in the early ’70’s is in essence a blessing.  Hidden within the last stanza (lyrics below) are the perfect words for clinking glasses in a toast on Thanksgiving Day. (Video link here.)

May God bless and keep you alway
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
May you stay forever young
May you stay forever young.

May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the lights surrounding you
May you always be courageous
Stand upright and be strong
May you stay forever young
May you stay forever young.

May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful
And may your song always be sung
May you stay forever young
May you stay forever young.



Sally Schneider
Sally Schneider

Pablo Neruda’s Ode to Gratitude is wondrous read aloud:

Thanks to the word
that gives thanks.
Thanks to the gratitude
for how excellently
the word melts snow or iron.

The planet seemed full of threats
until soft
as a translucent
or sweet as a sugary petal,
from lip to lip,
it passed,
thank you,
magnificent, filling the mouth,

or whispered,
hardly voiced,
and the soul became human again,
not a window,
some clear shine
penetrated the forest:
it was possible again to sing beneath the leaves.

Gratitude, you are medicine
scorn’s bitter oxides,
light melting the cruel altar.

you are also
the carpet
the most distant men,
passengers spread out
through nature
and the jungle
of unknown men,
as the delirious train
penetrates a new country,
eradicating frontiers,
joined with the sharp-cusped
volcanoes, frost and fire,
thanks, yes, gracias, and the Earth
turns into a table,
a single word swept it clean,
plates and cups glisten,

forks jingle,
and the flatlands seem like tablecloths.

Thanks, gracias,
you travel and return,
you rise
and descend.
It is understood, you don’t
permeate everything,
but where the word of thanksgiving
appears like a tiny petal,
proud fists hide
and a penny’s worth of a smile appears.

And finally, these words that came from reader Sybille Palmer via email:

Let us treasure those who show up in our lives.
Those who stand by our side.

Wishing you a very happy Thanksgiving…


gif via the great DVDP

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One thought on “Thanksgiving Blessings, from Dylan to Neruda

  1. Happy Thanksgiving, Sally! I am thankful for my daily feast of Improvised Life which nourishes the mind and the soul. You give us all a gift that no one else can replace. Merci, gracias, thank you!

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