Gratitude as Gift

So, the prose is a overwrought, but Robert Raynolds vividly captures the giftiness of gratitude in a couple of passages in his 1961 prose-poem, In Praise of Gratitude .

Returning from a visit to Mexico as a young man, he pays a visit to the woman who will become his wife: “She opened the door, and suddenly as she saw me a change of light came over her face and her body rose out of the routine of answering a doorbell into free upspring of dancing life, and she said: ‘I am glad to see you!’ She said it in every light and motion and sound of her whole being. And I knew that gratitude had suddenly flooded her heart with blessing, and her gratitude had overflowed and blessed my heart. And I knew that gratitude is a blessing that we give to one another’ (p. 11).

Another: “One of the loveliest things I have ever seen was a warm shy smile of gratitude lighting up a woman’s face in the midst of a cubbyhole cocktail party, where noisy avoidance of life was killing the hour. A shadow of long-endured fear, bleak and cold, haunted her face with torment; her life was suspended a thousand fathoms below the froth of the party; she dwelt bewildered in profound dread. At the sound of a word that was warm, spoken to the child of her heart, a miracle of light came from within her, shattering the shadow of fear on her face. Light of gratitude began to glow in her heart and came up to light her face with tender joy, and her life gave forth warmth of new being. During her moment of gratitude she become one of grace who gave blessing” (p. 91).

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