As the golden days of autumn give way to auburn, rust, and brown, we lean toward Thanksgiving, a season of deep gratitude.
Today and always I give thanks for my many blessings – family and friends, children’s laughter, angels and prayers that come into my life, bidden or unbidden, even my breath, which I so often take for granted… but which for some is an immense struggle.
Many years ago, I wrote “Sanctuary,” one of my many poems of gratitude. I share it with you now as an offering of thanksgiving for a faithful, stout-hearted woman of God… my mom, Mildred McEwen, and to two amazing men whose legacy of generosity and gratitude changed my life… my father, Earnest McEwen, Jr., and William Faulkner.
Who has been a blessing in your life? Have you expressed your gratitude?
for William Faulkner and my father, Earnest McEwen, Jr.*
Between the brush of angels’ wings
and furious hooves of hell, two mortal men
fell down. How you must have looked—
white shirt stained, khakis fatigued,
smelling of sweat and smoke,
hair at odds with itself and the world.
At the threshold among your restless dead
in echo and shadow of ancient oaks,
providing sanctuary, offering shade,
you had many worlds behind you,
few yet to be born: stories of insurgence,
scorn, decay—theme and variations
of a vanquished South.
Leaning against a jamb
of antebellum brass, you watched, waited,
raised weary arm and hand, saluted
the familiar stranger. Come. Enter. Sit. Sing.
You reached each other across the grate.
What you two must have known of heaven and hell.
* William Faulkner was my father’s benefactor, paying for him to attend college at a time when he had little
prospects of earning enough money to pay for it himself. This was Faulkner’s way of dismantling institutionalized racism long before desegregation was mandated in the South.
Pass It On!