Last night our oldest came to the Thanksgiving table prepared. He read to us about the Piscataway Tribe, the indigenous people who lived on the land where we live and where we were sitting down to eat. After dinner he showed us the movie Awake: A Dream from Standing Rock (on Vimeo). It was a poem and a documentary. It was beautiful and heart-breaking and inspiring. This morning I am feeling grateful for his leadership, his learning, his teaching, for the abundance we share, for this year’s reminders to be grateful for everything, for people who stand up to injustice, for people who make art, for people who see the connections between this moment and so many others.


I was reminded of this poem by Joy Harjo.


Perhaps the World Ends Here


The world begins at a kitchen table. No matter what, we must eat to live.

The gifts of earth are brought and prepared, set on the table. So it has been since creation, and it will go on.

We chase chickens or dogs away from it. Babies teethe at the corners. They scrape their knees under it.

It is here that children are given instructions on what it means to be human. We make men at it, we make women.

At this table we gossip, recall enemies and the ghosts of lovers.

Our dreams drink coffee with us as they put their arms around our children. They laugh with us at our poor falling-down selves and as we put ourselves back together once again at the table.

This table has been a house in the rain, an umbrella in the sun.

You can read the rest of the poem  here on the Poetry Foundation website.

I hope you had a good, safe, healthy Thanksgiving no matter what form it took this year.




15 replies
  1. Linda Mitchell
    Linda Mitchell says:

    Yes! This poem….this poem got me too…this Thanksgiving. I’m so grateful for the young people who really do know right from wrong and can lead. Thank goodness for them. Kiss your eldest for me.

  2. Carol Wilcox
    Carol Wilcox says:

    Your son sounds amazing! What a perfect way to celebrate Thanksgiving. I love Joy’s new to me poem. And I love the way you and Linda Mitchell have used it as a jumping off point for celebrations.

  3. Carol Varsalona
    Carol Varsalona says:

    I applaud your son for voicing his opinion at the table knowing that his thoughts would allow all to ponder, Liz. I do love Harjo’s poem. The kitchen table has always been a place of congregation for me.

  4. Mary Lee
    Mary Lee says:

    After hearing it again and again from NCTE presenters, I am now beginning each school day with a land or ancestor acknowledgement. I hope that the quiet repetition of this routine will become a way of thinking for my students, as it has for your son.

  5. janice scully
    janice scully says:

    You must be so proud of your son. The table where we gather is the center of our home and it is for many. Thank you for sharing Harjo’s poem. Just right for pondering during this holiday. Stay well.

  6. Bridget Magee
    Bridget Magee says:

    Happy (belated) Thanksgiving to you and yours, dear Liz. The world is going into a healing phase and your son is leading the way with knowledge, kindness, and reverence for what once was. As Harjo illustrates so brilliantly, it all begins at the kitchen table… 🙂

  7. Heidi Mordhorst
    Heidi Mordhorst says:

    Two repetitions of this poem today, whose power lies most in its simple acknowledgment of truth. Joy Harjo was at NCTE in several sessions I watched, and she is our needed poem of grounded earth. I’ve also been encouraged that somehow our children know which way to go–I’m *actually* humbled more than proud. Here’s Daisy’s editorial note from the Diamondback.
    It was great to see you last week.

  8. Michelle Kogan
    Michelle Kogan says:

    What a rich cornucopia of thoughts shared by your family for Thanksgiving–and I loved hearing Joy Harjo’s Kitchen Table poem last week at the Academy of American Poets “Gather in Poems” readings, thanks Liz!


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