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The dance of Thanks and Givens: a terza rima poem

By Michelle Liew

The forget me not, a symbol of appreciation

The forget me not, a symbol of appreciation


Thank You DIdo

When one's expectations are reduced to zero one really appreciates everything one does have.

Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking, British theoretical physicist renowned for predictions as much as he is for having succeeded despite encumbering disability, very much reveals the secret of his success with this very quote.

And surely, he says it well. over time we develop expectations of life that, when unfulfilled, can disappoint and leave a sour aftertaste. Increased demand leads to heightened disappointment.

We let the dark clouds or shadows cover our eyes and obscure the view of the many blessings that we have in front of us. The harshness and business of daily living takes away the charms of the little things that we have in life. We become hardened and cynical and it is difficult to blame us for being so. It becomes hard to see the world through a pair of more positive glasses.

While this is trite, it is also true. Everything starts by appreciating the little things around us. When can start to do so, the positive begins to happen in our lives.


Symbolism of the forget-me-not

The various legends surrounding the pretty blue forget-me-not, a symbol of remembrance and appreciation, are good reminders of remembrance and appreciation.

In a German legend, God went to each plant after the Earth was created and gave each a name. A pretty blue flower asked Him, “What about me?” So God named it the Forget Me Not so that it will always be cherished.

In another legend, the Christ Child, sitting on his mother Mary’s lap, said that he wished the world could see her eyes. He waved a hand over the ground and little blue flowers, hence named Forget me nots, appeared.

The legends and the consequent symbolism surrounding the little blue flower all point to the importance of cherishing the little, but important things we have.


Why we take things for granted

Appreciating something for what it is can be difficult owing to a few elements that can weaken the ability to see things from a better perspective and consequently, to help ourselves see the positives that we have in our lives.


When our anything is there for us all the time, we get accustomed to its presence. When we have continued experience that something can be relied on, The familiarity leads us to believe that it will always be there and when it is taken away from us, we feel the sting.

Family is certainly a great example of how this happens. We get accustomed to the presence of our parents and children so when, one of them is distanced from us for any reason the sting becomes more pronounced.

Negative experience

Negative experiences in life definitely generate cynicism and the disbelief in the good that can happen. When we are taken advantage of, experience any unfairness or are misunderstood, cynicism rears its not-so-pretty head.

I have recently encountered this with a friend, a formerly l and positive person full of faith in Providence. The unfair treatment he had received in his career and the failure to be appreciated himself has led to him questioning anything and everything that can be good. It has also made him angsty and temperamental when he encountering other trivial, untoward experiences, distancing him from his wife and family.

It is a vicious cycle to be broken out of. Negativity breeds more. As with the old adage: “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.”

Failure to look beyond

When the present moment is a negative one, it can be asking for the moon to look beyond it and see the plus side of things. The cynicism that a negative experience generates stops us from seeing the good already in our lives or appreciating it.

A loss of a job, especially through unjust means can make it difficult to look beyond. The difficulty of adjusting financially and emotionally makes us lose focus on the path ahead and think only of the negative aspects of the loss. We fail to see that it is instead an opportunity for us to move in another, perhaps better, direction.

What we have is not scarce.

What I mean by this is that some of the things we have are things that many others already do. Our basic needs-that of food, air and water, are shared by many so we end up devaluing them even though they are so important.

When what we have is not scarce, it becomes easy to overlook it and not see its value. We take it as a given-which it is-which will never be depleted.

We could not be more wrong, of course.


Our little gifts

The gifts we take for granted

Our senses, family, health, friendships or the relationships we have with our spouses are things that we often take for granted, though that has already been said before. Instead, I choose to focus on some of the gifts given to us which we often take for granted-some of our abilities that we seldom see the value of until we stop to think about them.

Our gift of language and communication.

We learn language as soon as we are born, owing to the motherese that our parents start using with us when we come into this world. Our ability to communicate with others,something not in scarcity, is sadly not valued by many.

With the ease of the internet,cell phone technology and the use of emoticons and symbols, language is further devalued. The use of short forms and symbols to make communication faster reduces, unfortunately, the need of the proper use of language.

The gift of mathematics.

Again, this is not in scarcity. While most of us are not professors of mathematics, we are all educated to perform simple calculations that help us to pay our bills and facilitate other activities that require them.

Perhaps the stress of all the mathematics homework we received as children has taking the appreciation we have for the ability to do simple sums away!

The gift of science

Again, perhaps too-intense biology and chemistry classes has taken the joy of appreciating science away. Yet without it, the computers we use right now to type these words would not be available to us, nor would we be able to share our writing with the rest of the world.

We would still be using horses and carriages instead of cars and no, we would not be able to enjoy the availability of Smart TV.

The gift of music

Music is an often taken for granted, but necessary addition to our daily lives. We have one less tool to alleviate stress when it is taken away from us. We have one less aesthetic that adds much quality to our lives.

The gift of the soul

One of the joys of being a human being is the ability to judge right from wrong and tell the good from the bad, so it is sad when this gift of the soul is compromised or misguided. The joys we would be able to experience were we to use this gift in the right way!

The gift of self

With our set of abilities and talents, we are gifts to be treasured by others and by ourselves. Again, it is regrettable when this gift is not treasured.

The gift of peace

Sadly, dark clouds of narcissism and self-preservation has stopped us from appreciating this rare gift. Many in the world spend a lot of time on wars or other conflicts that erupt from selfish self-interest.There is insistence on always being in the right, but is that necessarily true?


How to appreciate the things around us

The more trivial this sounds, the more the need for appreciation.. It is when we have to take a step back to re-learn how to say a simple thank you for the things around us.


It all starts with gratitude for the little things that we have, no matter how small. When the chips are down, we stand a better chance of getting them up again when we are able to say “thank you” every day for the people around us, the food we can eat or the air we breathe,

Being grateful for the things we have attracts more of the good into our lives.

Celebrate the small things.

If we think of ourselves as being unfortunate, there is always someone who is more so.

Celebrating the small things in life is really a start to being able to cherish and have the bigger, better gifts handed over to us.

Remember people around us.

Again, we seldom miss someone’s presence until that person is distanced from us in one way or another. What about cherishing them when they are around us?

Focus on what is right in our lives.

Easy to say when the tide is turned against you, many might tell me, but all of us have had that tide turned against us at some point in our lives. The difference between a happy, successful person and one who is beaten down is that he thinks about what he already has in his arsenal.

Focusing on the good things we already have may not exactly give us much more immediately. However, it does give us a happier start towards the better.

Take action

Instead of thinking about or bemoaning about the negatives, take action with the positives we already do have. If we do not know how to cook something, take action with our hands, our minds and learn the recipe. If we do not know how to play baseball, tuse the eyes, hands and ears and be willing to learn. You get the idea!

Statue of Dante

Statue of Dante

A Terza Rima Poem

A Terza Rima, literally translated, means ‘third rhyme.” The stanzas of terza rima poems are written in three lines or tercets.The last syllable of the second line of the first stanza rhymes with the last syllable of the first line of the second.

That might sound a little complicated, so the rhyme scheme of the Terza Rima are like this:




And so on, for as many stanzas as we wish.

The enjoyable part of this poetic form is that it is unrestricted as to subject and the number of stanzas. However, it must end with either a single line or a couplet that has a final syllable rhyming with the final syllable of the middle line of the last stanza.

First thought of by Italian poet Dante, it appeared in his poem Divina Commedia. He was said to have been influenced by the lyrics used by Provencal troubadors.

A beary romantic dance between Thanks and Givens.

A beary romantic dance between Thanks and Givens.

The dance of Thanks and Givens

The words of Thanks,

Voiced to Givens sincerely,

not with coerced angst

Little Givens, He looks at earnestly

takes her to his side

embraces her gratefully

Arms stretched apart, wide,

Thanks leads Little Givens in a dance

of boundless gratitude and pride

He moves ahead, with forceful prance

to take Little Givens in his arms;

His steps purposeful, enhanced

Their dance, one of timeless charm

Soulful celebration of existence

Thanks kisses, admiring, Givens' palm.

She puts up no resistance,

With each other, keep no distance.



Being appreciative of the things we have rather than focusing on the things we do not always leads to bigger and better things.

I would like to thank the authors who answered the question “What are the reasons we take things for granted?” Each writer expressed wonderful thoughts on this question. Do take the time to pay them a visit.

Original work by Michelle Liew Tsui-Lin

Copyright All Rights Reserved



Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on May 12, 2013:

Thanks who...hope to share more meaningful poems on here!

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on May 12, 2013:

Thanks, Paula!!!!! Glad to share more hubs here with everyone!

whonunuwho from United States on May 11, 2013:

How did I miss this fine work, my friend? Thank you for sharing such beauty in words and photos. Nicely done. whonu

Suzie from Carson City on May 11, 2013:

Midget.....Outstanding, stunning, thought-provoking. Your writing never fails to enlighten and entertain. Bless you for sharing such fabulous hubs with us......I especially appreciate the lesson about "making the world blind."......a special thought for many to heed.......UP+++

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on May 05, 2013:

There are the little nuggets of wisdom that we have to be thankful for, indeed! Thanks for sharing, Kathi!

Kathi Mirto from Fennville on May 05, 2013:

Hello Michelle, We have so much to be thankful for. . . when we're young, we take for them for granted and learn to appreciate the little things later in life. That's if we're blessed with the wisdom to know better, something else to be thankful for. Your hub is a beautiful reminder. Wonderful job. Hugs, Kathi

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on May 02, 2013:

Spot on Martie.....thinking negatively about people and things always brings more. Yes, some of these are negative. We cannot help that, but we can control our attitudes......and refuse to let the bad side of things get us down. Or we simply get more! Thanks for sharing, Marite!

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on May 02, 2013:

Thanks, Gwen! Glad you liked it!

Martie Coetser from South Africa on May 02, 2013:

You've said it all, midget! Thinking negative is following the line of least resistance. Gratitude is an attitude; if we cannot appreciate the little things, how can we ever be happy?

dreamseeker2 on May 02, 2013:

Interesting spin on life and its gifts. Loved your poem and photos. Voted up and awesome! : )

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on May 01, 2013:

Hiya Sunshine! I think it's the rush of everyday living. All of us are guilty of it! No, I am so not surprised that you selected music...it's so you, and a wonderful gift too! Thanks for sharing!

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on May 01, 2013:

Thanks for this beautiful sharing too, travmaj, and I really appreciate these words. I am really grateful!

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on May 01, 2013:

Thanks, Vinaya. Too true the world over..all of us need to be more appreciative of the things we have! Thanks for sharing!

Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on May 01, 2013:

Well said Michelle. We shouldn't take anything for granted, yet we do, too often. I selected music in your poll...I bet you aren't surprised! :)

travmaj from australia on May 01, 2013:

This is something - everything really. Inspiring, thoughtful, and a message of hope.

Like you friend I have been guilty of that negativity - and it is indeed a difficult process to find the positivity in life. You put the answers very succinctly and lead us to so many answers. Accepting and appreciating what we have is so meaningful. I thank you for this and the beautiful poetry - you have a wonderful way with words.

Vinaya Ghimire from Nepal on May 01, 2013:


Your thoughts are profound, it holds true in every culture and country.

I did not know about symbolism associated with forget me not. Beautiful poem in interesting poetry form.

Jamie Lee Hamann from Reno NV on May 01, 2013:

Michelle, this hub is beyond incredible...excellent message, information, inspiration and everything in between. Thank you for sharing. Jamie

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on May 01, 2013:

Thanks Jo!

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on May 01, 2013:

Thanks, MHatter!

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on May 01, 2013:

Correct, Leslie, feeling overwhelmed is what sometimes makes one less appreciative. we're human and learning! Thanks for sharing!

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on May 01, 2013:

Thanks, Lurana...just expressing what is in my heart. Thanks for sharing!

MrsBrownsParlour on April 30, 2013:

Every piece of this has beauty and wisdom!! So well-done, Michelle. :-)

Karen Silverman on April 30, 2013:

this was incredible, Michelle - your writing talent is exceeded only by the message you convey - one that i very much needed today!

Thank you!

i will take more time to appreciate altho - i DO know how lucky i am - like everyone else - i sometimes get...'mired'..

truly enjoyable and informative read!


Martin Kloess from San Francisco on April 29, 2013:

Thank you for this extremely well written opportunity for reflection

Jo Alexis-Hagues from Lincolnshire, U.K on April 29, 2013:

Michelle, beautiful, passionate and very profound!.. There are so many truths here, I wouldn't know where to begin.

Great work, especially loved the poem.

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on April 29, 2013:

Thanks Ruchira!

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on April 29, 2013:

Thanks, Janet! Glad you enjoyed this.....taking each other for granted is trivial yet damaging when done too often. Sort of like wind weathering a stone. Thanks for sharing!

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on April 29, 2013:

Yes. We all want peace, yet many take God for granted...understand completely, manatiba. Thanks for sharing this little food for thought!

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on April 29, 2013:

Thanks, Who! That means a lot!

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on April 29, 2013:

Hi Valley! Thanks for coming in again. I was a teacher...so I guess I tend to get a little into teacher mode! Thanks for sharing!

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on April 29, 2013:

Hi James!! Yes, we must count our blessings when the chips are down, because it is the ray of hope we have for getting them back up again. Thanks for sharing!

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on April 29, 2013:

Thanks Mary. Peace connected the most with me too. I think in these days, we have to be aware how taken for granted it is. Thanks for sharing.

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on April 29, 2013:

Exactly, Kidscrafts. It happens to us all the time, and we all make mistakes. No one is exempt from it, so we should not judge each other or take each other for granted as we each have our merits too. Thanks for sharing!

Ruchira from United States on April 29, 2013:

Another beautiful piece of work, Michelle.

Loved it!!

Gratitude comes only with acceptance. Well said, my friend.

Janet Giessl from Georgia country on April 29, 2013:

Very wonderful and inspirational. I love your hubs. It is really important not to take all the things in life for granted. We should appreciate and cherish the things in life as you described in your hub. You know so much about different types of poems. I can learn so much from your hubs.

manatita44 from london on April 29, 2013:

Extremely beautiful. We need more of this kind of inspirational prose and poetry.

Food for thought: Do you know that we have many atheists here? Do you see that peace gets 100%? Makes you think, eh? God bless.

whonunuwho from United States on April 29, 2013:

A beautiful work and it is so well done. Thanks for sharing this precious work, my friend. whonu

Valleypoet on April 29, 2013:

This hub really has it all..It is inspirational, wise, educational and has a beautiful poem..loved this Michelle, thank you:-))

Mary Hyatt from Florida on April 29, 2013:

I noticed that most voters voted "peace" in your poll. That is so true for me.

Beautiful Hub and poem.

Voted UP and shared.

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on April 29, 2013:

Hi James! Thanks so much! I think it all begins with a simple thanks for them. When we can say that, things get a little easier!

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on April 29, 2013:

Thanks, Janine! Glad that you've enjoyed this little Terza Rima. Something different for a change.

kidscrafts from Ottawa, Canada on April 29, 2013:

Very nice quote of Stephen Hawking!

When bad experiences happened, we shouldn't see the negative side of it but more the lessons we can learn from it so it doesn't happen again. I find it easier to be positive. I have been told once (with a nasty tone)..."You are always so positive!" :-)))

I like what you explained about the symbolism of the forget-me-not. One of my cat had that name in French (Myosotis). She passed away at the age of 15 a few years ago. All my cats have (or had) names of flowers :-)

Thank you for your lovely poem! You are starting my day with a smile and gratitude :-)

Tijani Achamlal from Morocco on April 29, 2013:

You write superb love poetry, and this one is not an exception: The whole piece is so deep and beautifully written and thanks for reminding us of the gifts we are endowed with.Yes,very true.. one has to count their blessings whenever his down.I love this hub and the beautiful dance of thanks and givens.Voted up

Janine Huldie from New York, New York on April 29, 2013:

Beautiful and loved how you laid this out with what we do take for granted, how we shouldn't and your beautiful poem at the end. Great job, as always and of course voted up and shared, too!!

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on April 29, 2013:

On why we should not take things for granted, and a terza rima poem.

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