Thanksgiving is such a wonderful holiday, isn't it? A good time to remember all that we have to be grateful for, and to remember that Thanksgiving itself is about more than turkey dinners and football games. (At least, we think there are football games on Thanksgiving. We're not really up on contact sports. We are, though, pretty certain about the turkey dinners.)
To help that idea along, herewith we offer a selection of Thanksgiving poetry, starting with A Thanksgiving Hymn, an anonymous poem found in the 1894 Agricultural Almanac printed and sold by John Baer's Sons in Lancaster, Pennsylvania:
"Have you cut the wheat in the blowing fields,
The barley, the oats and rye,
The golden corn and the pearly rice?
For the winter days are nigh."
"We have reaped them all from shore to shore,
And the grain is safe on the threshing floor."
"Have you gathered the berries from the vine
And the fruits from the orchard trees,
The dew and the scent from the roses and thyme
In the hive of the honey-bees?"
"The peach and the plum and the apple are ours,
And the honey-comb from the scented flowers."
"The wealth of the snowy cotton-field
And the gift of the sugar-cane,
The savory herb and nourishing root -
There has nothing been given in vain,
We have gathered the harvest from shore to shore,
And the measure is full and running oer."
Then lift up the head with a song!
And lift up the hands with a gift!
To the ancient giver of all
The spirit of gratitude lift!
For the joy and promise of Spring,
For the hay and clover sweet,
The barley, the rye, and the oats,
The rice and the corn and the wheat,
The cotton and sugar and fruit,
The flowers and the fine honeycomb,
The country, so fair and so free,
The blessing and the glory of home,
"Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving!"
Joyfully, gratefully call,
"To God, the preserver of men,"
The bountiful Father of all."
Ah! On Thanksgiving Day, when from East and from West,
From North and from South come the pilgrim and guest,
When the gray-haired New Englander sees round his board
The old broken links of affection restored,
When the care-wearied man seeks his mother once more,
And the worn matron smiles where the girl smiled before,
What moistens the lip, and what brightens the eye?
What calls back the past, like the rich pumpkin pie?
O, fruit loved of boyhood! the old days recalling;
When wood-grapes were purpling and brown nuts were falling!
When wild, ugly faces were carved in its skin,
Glaring out through the dark with a candle within!
When we laughed round the corn heap, with hearts all in tune,
Our chair a broad pumpkin, our lantern the moon,
Telling tales of the fairy who traveled like steam
In a pumpkin-shell coach, with two rats for her team!
Then, thanks for thy present! - none sweeter or better
E'er smoked from an oven or circled a platter!
Fairer hands never wrought at a pastry more fine,
Brighter eyes never watched o'er its baking than thine!
And the prayer, which my mouth is too full to express,
Swells my heart that thy shadow may never be less,
That the days of thy lot may be lengthened below,
And the fame of thy worth like a pumpkin-vine grow,
And thy life be as sweet, and its last sunset sky
Gold-tinted and fair as thine own pumpkin-pie!
What matters it the cold wind's blast,
What matters though 'tis snowing,
Thanksgiving Day has come at last;
To grandmamma's were going.
Wrapped in furs as warm as toast,
O'er the hills we're fleeting;
To welcome friends, a merry host
And grandma's smile of greeting.
The sleigh bells jingle merrily,
And though the flakes are flying,
At last beyond the hills we see
A little mansion lying.
I'm sure we'll find sweet cakes and fruit
And pumpkin pies so yellow;
For grandma knows just how to suit
Each hungry little fellow.
Hunt the Squirrel is an old Thanksgiving game for children, taken from May C Hofmann's Games for Everybody:
To amuse the children after the Thanksgiving dinner, ask them all to join hands and form a ring. One is chosen out and is given a nut which he is to drop behind some child. As he walks around the outside of the ring he says:
"Hunt the squirrel in the woods,
I lost him, I found him.
Hunt the squirrel in the woods,
I lost him, I found him.
I won't catch you, and I won't catch you,
But I will catch you."
As he says the last line, he drops the nut behind some child. That one must pick it up, and run around the circle, trying to reach his place before the other one gets there. If he fails, he is out and the game continues as before.
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