Let Us Give Thanks
by Robert Perkins
BookVenture Publishing LLC

"Thank You, Father, for places to work
May we enjoy them, sharing your word,
Jesus, You blessed us with something to do
Let us do it wholeheartedly for You!"

Seeing that no advertising among retailers for Thanksgiving appeared in the local newspaper a few years ago, Perkins was inspired. He began to create poems of thanks for a multitude of small but nonetheless significant blessings. The result was, over time, the development of 96 poems expressing gratitude for a lot of things both great and small, some of which might surprise the reader. Here are just a few of the “thank-able” items to which Perkins has turned his poetic attention: archeology, fairy tales, GPS, new glasses, gravity, wheelchairs, and even Thanksgiving itself.

To understand why archeology is something we should be grateful for, Perkins reminds us that just as children like to dig, and “might discover something big,” so we all may discover something important if we keep looking. Fairy tales give children something to aspire to—lovely costumes and worthy causes in which “nobility wins.” Most of us have probably had occasion to be thankful for our GPS and “no more lost ways.” Anyone who wears glasses knows the feeling of relief that comes from walking out of the eye doctor’s office “seeing quite well.” Even those who hope someday to “fly away” to heaven are grateful to gravity for keeping us “steadily on our feet.” As for “Giving Thanks for Thanksgiving,” Perkins admits it sounds a little redundant, but we should do it even so, as it reminds us of Thanksgivings past, all the way back to Eden when God created the earth.

Perkins has struggled with epilepsy most of his life, which may have influenced his special religious viewpoint, a very personal sense of connection with Jesus. He started writing poetry in college and states that he has created more than 4,000 poetic works. In this case, he has gathered a pleasing collection, undoubtedly involving efforts not simply as a poet but also as an organizer. All of the titles begin with the words “giving thanks” followed by the item or concept worthy of thanks in alphabetical order. Too, each of the poems comprises four short verses of equal line length and a consistent AA-BB rhyme scheme.

A religious fervor underscores all the offerings, as the last verse and sometimes the previous ones are focused on God’s role in bestowing that for which gratitude is expressed. In extolling the usefulness of wheelchairs, for example, Perkins notes that besides making people mobile “when their feet say no,” wheelchairs are part of God’s healing plan for bodies and hearts. There is also a notably Christian perspective, with the poems speaking of Jesus who brings peace, smiles on mankind, and who can even use cellphones for connecting us (though prayer, Perkins suggests, offers a better way to communicate). Perkins has even included death in his list of “gifts,” considering it to be “our release from this life” to the “open door to Freedom.”

Perkins observes that many people go through life seeing but not fully appreciating their blessings. He hopes with this collection to give readers a gentle reminder of the many ways that God is taking care of us. His simple poems have a sweet, at times personal quality and could be read as a daily spiritual journal.

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