Let Us Give Thanks

The Lantern of Diogenes and other poems by Jenny Lind Porter (old)

The Lantern of Diogenes and other poems by Jenny Lind Porter (old)

This poem is from “The Lantern of Diogenes and Other Poems,” a book written by one of my college teachers and mentors, Dr. Jenny Lind Porter.

While it’s not a poem in the usually cheerful spirit of the holidays, it’s a work of art which rings true, perhaps especially on Thanksgiving.

We can give thanks for having jobs, money, family, and warm homes. But why not be thankful for the harder lessons in life which teach us the right things to do and how to hold dear what we often take for granted?


I thank Thee for the cruel blows of pain

That drove me back to harmony and light;

For hunger’s prick, I thank Thee, and for rain;

For serpent rocks, and striving; for the night;

For dark and pathless sloughs discouraged feet

Thought endless suffering; for mistakes that wrung

The soul. I thank Thee for defeat

That burned away my sloth, and all that stung

I humbly bless: the empty cup to fill,

The siren’s lay which forced me to discern;

The exercising of my wit and will

Because imperfect; for the cosmic burn,

For cutting forth the “I”, crumbs, rags, for quest:

Wisely we praise the struggle and unrest.

Without grief, trouble, struggle, and sorrow it can sometimes be hard to appreciate the brief flashes of the sublime we’re allowed. So let’s be happy and thankful.

1. Porter, J. L. (1954). The Lantern of Diogenes and Other Poems. San Antonio, The Naylor Company Book Publishers.

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