Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude

Ross Gay, Bon Iver

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Bon Iver

Bon Iver ( /boʊn iːˈvɛər/ bone-ee-VARE ) is a Grammy award-winning American folk band founded in 2007 by indie folk singer-songwriter Justin Vernon. The band also includes Michael Noyce, Sean Carey and Matthew McCaughan. Vernon released Bon Iver's debut album, For Emma, Forever Ago independently in July 2007. The majority of that album was recorded while Vernon spent three months in a cabin in northwestern Wisconsin. Bon Iver won the 2012 Grammy Awards for Best New Artist and Best Alternative Music Album for their album Bon Iver, Bon Iver. The name Bon Iver is derived from the French phrase bon hiver (French pronunciation: ​[bɔn‿ivɛːʁ]), meaning "good winter", taken from a greeting on Northern Exposure. more »


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Friends, will you bear with me today
For I have awakened
From a dream in which a robin
Made with its shabby wings a kind of veil
Behind which it shimmied and stomped something from the south
Of spain, its breast aflare
Looking me dead in the eye
From the branch that grew into my window
Coochie-cooing my chin
The bird shuffling its little talons left, then right
While the leaves bristled
Against the plaster wall, two of them drifting
Onto my blanket while the bird
Opened and closed its wings like a matador
Giving up on murder
Jutting its beak, turning a circle
And flashing, again
The ruddy bombast of its breast 
By which I knew upon waking
It was telling me
In no uncertain terms
To bellow forth the tubas and sousaphones
The whole rusty brass band of gratitude
Not quite dormant in my belly
It said so in a human voice
"Bellow forth"
And who among us could ignore such odd
And precise counsel?

Hear ye! Hear ye! I am here
To holler that I have hauled tons by which I don't mean lots
I mean tons of cowshit
And stood ankle deep in swales of maggots
Swirling the spent beer grains
The brewery man was good enough to dump off
Holding his nose, for they smell very bad
But make the compost writhe giddy and lick its lips
Twirling dung with my pitchfork
Again and again
With hundreds and hundreds of other people
We dreamt an orchard this way
Furrowing our brows
And hauling our wheelbarrows
And sweating through our shirts
And less than a year later there was a party
At which trees were sunk into the well-fed earth
One of which, a liberty apple, after being watered in
Was tamped by a baby barefoot
With a bow hanging in her hair
Biting her lip in her joyous work
And friends this is the realest place I know
It makes me squirm like a worm I am so grateful
You could ride your bike there
Or roller skate or catch the bus
There is a fence and a gate twisted by hand
There is a fig tree taller than you in Indiana
It will make you gasp
It might make you want to stay alive even, thank you

And thank you
For not taking my pal when the engine
Of his mind dragged him
To swig fistfuls of Xanax and a bottle or two of booze
And thank you for taking my father
A few years after his own father went down thank you
Mercy, mercy, thank you
For not smoking meth with your mother
Oh thank you thank you
For leaving and for coming back
And thank you for what inside my friends'
Love bursts like a throng of roadside goldenrod
Gleaming into the world
Likely hauling a shovel with her
Like one named aralee ought
With hands big as a horse's
And who, like one named aralee ought
Will laugh time to time 'til the juice
Runs from her nose oh
Thank you
For the way a small thing's wail makes
The milk or what once was milk
In us gather into horses
Huckle-buckling across a field

And thank you, friends, when last spring
The hyacinth bells rang
And the crocuses flaunted
Their upturned skirts, and a quiet roved
The beehive which when I entered
Were snugged two or three dead
Fist-sized clutches of bees between the frames
Almost clinging to one another
This one's tiny head pushed
Into another's tiny wing
One's forelegs resting on another's face
The translucent paper of their wings fluttering
Beneath my breath and when
A few dropped to the frames beneath
Honey and after falling down to cry
Everything's glacial shine

And thank you, too and thanks
For the corduroy couch I have put you on
Put your feet up here's a light blanket
A pillow, dear one
For I can feel this is going to be long
I can't stop
My gratitude, which includes, dear reader
You, for staying here with me
For moving your lips just so as I speak
Here is a cup of tea I have spooned honey into it

And thank you the tiny bee's shadow
Perusing these words as I write them
And the way my love talks quietly
When in the hive
So quietly, in fact, you cannot hear her
But only notice barely her lips moving
In conversation thank you what does not scare her
In me, but makes her reach my way thank you the love
She is which hurts sometimes and the time
She misremembered elephants
In one of my poems which, oh, here
They come, garlanded with morning glory and wisteria
Blooms, trombones all the way down to the river
Thank you the quiet
In which the river bends around the elephant's
Solemn trunk, polishing stones, floating
On its gentle back
The flock of geese flying overhead

And to the quick and gentle flocking
Of men to the old lady falling down
On the corner of fairmount and 18th, holding patiently
With the softest parts of their hands
Her cane and purple hat 
Gathering for her the contents of her purse
And touching her shoulder and elbow
Thank you the cockeyed court
On which in a half-court 3 vs 3 we oldheads
Made of some runny-nosed kids
A shambles, and the 61-year-old
After flipping a reverse lay-up off a back door cut
From my no-look pass to seal the game
Ripped off his shirt and threw punches at the gods
And hollered at the kids to admire the pacemaker's scar
Grinning across his chest thank you
The glad accordion's wheeze
In the chest thank you the bagpipes

Thank you to the woman barefoot in a gaudy dress
For stopping her car in the middle of the road
And the tractor trailer behind her, and the van behind it
Whisking a turtle off the road
Thank you god of gaudy
Thank you paisley panties
Thank you the organ up my dress
Thank you the sheer dress you wore kneeling in my dream
At the creek's edge and the light
Swimming through it the koi kissing
Halos into the glassy air
The room in my mind with the blinds drawn
Where we nearly injure each other
Crawling into the shawl of the other's body
Thank you for saying it plain
F*ck each other dumb

And you, again, you, for the true kindness
It has been for you to remain awake
With me like this, nodding time to time
And making that noise which I take to mean
Yes, or, I understand, or, please go on
But not too long, or, why are you spitting
So much, or, easy tiger
Hands to yourself I am excitable
I am sorry I am grateful
I just want us to be friends now, forever
Take this bowl of blackberries from the garden
The sun has made them warm
I picked them just for you I promise
I will try to stay on my side of the couch

And thank you the baggie of dreadlocks I found in a drawer
While washing and folding the clothes of our murdered friend
The photo in which his arm slung
Around the sign to "The trail of silences" thank you
The way before he died he held
His hands open to us for coming back
In a waft of incense or in the shape of a boy
In another city looking
From between his mother's legs
Or disappearing into the stacks after brushing by
For moseying back in dreams where
Seeing us lost and scared
He put his hand on our shoulders
And pointed us to the temple across town

And thank you to the man all night long
Hosing a mist on his early-bloomed
Peach tree so that the hard frost
Not waste the crop, the ice
In his beard and the ghosts
Lifting from him when the warming sun
Told him sleep now thank you
The ancestor who loved you
Before she knew you
By smuggling seeds into her braid for the long
Journey, who loved you
Before he knew you by putting
A walnut tree in the ground, who loved you
Before she knew you by not slaughtering
The land thank you
Who did not bulldoze the ancient grove
Of dates and olives
Who sailed his keys into the ocean
And walked softly home who did not fire, who did not
Plunge the head into the toilet, who said stop
Don't do that who lifted some broken
Someone up who volunteered
The way a plant birthed of the reseeding plant
Is called a volunteer, like the plum tree
That marched beside the raised bed
In my garden, like the arugula that marched
Itself between the blueberries
Nary a bayonet, nary an army, nary a nation
Which usage of the word volunteer
Familiar to gardeners the wide world
Made my pal shout, "Oh!" And dance
And plunge his knuckles
Into the lush soil before gobbling two strawberries
And digging a song from his guitar
Made of wood from a tree someone maybe planted, thank you

Thank you zinnia, and gooseber

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Written by: Justin Vernon, Ross Gay

Lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind

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