Thank You by Ross Gay

If you find yourself half naked
and barefoot in the frosty grass, hearing,
again, the earth’s great, sonorous moan that says
you are the air of the now and gone, that says
all you love will turn to dust,
and will meet you there, do not
raise your fist. Do not raise
your small voice against it. And do not
take cover. Instead, curl your toes
into the grass, watch the cloud
ascending from your lips. Walk
through the garden’s dormant splendor.
Say only, thank you.
Thank you.

Thank You

I can never be reminded too often to express my appreciation for all that is around me, even, especially, when it may seem that life is too hard to bear. In this concise poem, Ross Gay gives us this message with viseral imagery. How often do you find yourself half naked / and barefoot in the frosty grass, feeling beneath your feet the earth’s great sonorous moan, the resonant message of you are the air of the now and gone?

These are the rare moments of awareness of how brief and precious is life, that all you love will turn to dust. Pay attention he says, but do not respond in anger or in fear; he says it three times to be sure we hear the message. Instead, curl your toes / into the grass – feel that winter-chilled vegetation waking up your senses, see the puff of vapour from your lips in the cool, early air.

He invites us to walk through the garden’s dormant splendor, before the new growth becomes lush, just imagining it in all its magnificence. Then, he tells us, there are only two words needed: thank you, repeated for emphasis. Such a simple offering to the day, so many opportunities to give thanks. Say only, thank you.

10 thoughts on “Thank You by Ross Gay

  1. Thank you for this, Jan. I’m thinking about curling my toes into the grass. We don’t have grass in our city front and back yards… it’s all been dug up for plants and paths, but we do have some thick creeping thyme, and that seems a good alternative. I’ll just wait for last nights snow to melt. (what the heck, Jan?!) xoxo

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  2. Perfect! I love how the simplicity of the language and imagery in this poem is so relatable, yet takes the reader into the depths of being. I love the line “all you love will turn to dust”. So much power in this simple line; it is sad and comforting at the same time. Such wisdom! Thanks so much for sharing, Jan!

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