December 26 is National Thank You Note Day. The idea is to thank people for their gifts, hospitality, and generosity. This doesn’t have to be related to Christmas or other holidays. Last year, I sent out cards thanking people for all the help they had given me during the previous year. It was an important step for me to not only appreciate others but for me to show more gratitude. That’s not something I had done well before. Gratitude is another part of being kind to others. They say it’s better to give than to receive. And it’s better to give gratitude and appreciation than anything else.
Many people will complain they didn’t like a gift from someone. Others will say it’s the thought that counts. Even if you didn’t like a gift, write a thank you note anyway. Thank the person for thinking of you. Thank them for the thoughtfulness. You don’t have to mention whether you liked the gift or not. But don’t be a Negative Nancy. Appreciate the person’s kindness. Appreciate getting a gift at all. Some people don’t have families or friends. They don’t receive gifts or celebrate. So, thanks others for gifts they sent. And keep an eye out for those who might feel alone. Thank them for being around.
I would like to share two poems from black poets, Langston Hughes and Gwendolyn Brooks. I do not officially have permission to reprint these poems so I am including the copyright information. Sadly, I could not replicate the exact formatting for Brooks’ poem. Please visit the source website for the original formatting. Share your favorite poem by a black poet.
The Bean Eaters by Gwendolyn Brooks
They eat beans mostly, this old yellow pair.
Dinner is a casual affair.
Plain chipware on a plain and creaking wood,
Two who are Mostly Good.
Two who have lived their day,
But keep on putting on their clothes
And putting things away.
And remembering …
Remembering, with twinklings and twinges,
As they lean over the beans in their rented back room that is full of beads and receipts and dolls and cloths, tobacco crumbs, vases and fringes.
Gwendolyn Brooks, “The Bean Eaters” from Selected Poems. Copyright © 1963 by Gwendolyn Brooks. Source: Poetry Foundation
Silhouette by Langston Hughes
Southern gentle lady,
Do not swoon.
They’ve just hung a black man
In the dark of the moon.
They’ve hung a black man
To a roadside tree
In the dark of the moon
For the world to see
How Dixie protects
Its white womanhood.
Southern gentle lady,
The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes, p. 305. Source: Song of America
left behind with a sense of disaster
trapped in a tub covered up by plaster
sounds of the wind seem to have subsided
a light which would cause one to be blinded
penetrates a hole in the wreckage
this small ray of light gives one the message
that the terrible event is over
a great rush of relief comes over her
crawling from the heap of devastation
now begins the life of reconstruction
Early poetry from James. From the poetry collection Pariah Bound: The Lonesome Poetry.