Maria Robledo
Maria Robledo

Along with wishes for a very happy Thanksgiving we offer the perfect poem, best read aloud, and lovely at the beginning or end of the meal…

Ode to Gratitude by Pablo Neruda.

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.


We’re taking the rest of the week off to enjoy the holiday. We’ll be back Monday.


If you’ve found illumination, joy, or inspiration in this post, please consider supporting Improvised Life. It only takes a minute to make a secure donation that helps pay our many costs. A little goes a long way towards helping Improvised Life continue to live ad-free in the world.

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2 replies on “Happy Thanksgiving from Improvised Life (w Pablo Neruda)

  1. Many, many thanks for the poem and for all you do that enriches my life in so many ways. Enjoy the holiday. I will smile and think of you each of the days I open my email amd you are not there – and then I will say thank you on Monday when you are back.

  2. Thank you SO much Ellen. Hearing that Improvised Life continues to resonate, especially after so many years, is serious fuel!

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