The Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving
(Edgar Albert Guest, 1881-1959)
It may be I am getting old and like too much to dwell
Upon the days of bygone years, the days I loved so well;
But thinking of them now I wish somehow that I could know
A simple old Thanksgiving Day, like those of long ago,
When all the family gathered round a table richly spread,
With little Jamie at the foot and grandpa at the head,
The youngest of us all to greet the oldest with a smile,
With mother running in and out and laughing all the
It may be I'm old-fashioned, but it seems to me to-day
We're too much bent on having fun to take the time to
Each little family grows up with fashions of its own;
It lives within a world itself and wants to be alone.
It has its special pleasures, its circle, too, of
There are no get-together days; each one his journey
Pursuing what he likes the best in his particular way,
Letting the others do the same upon Thanksgiving Day.
I like the olden way the best, when relatives were glad
To meet the way they used to do when I was but a lad;
The old home was a rendezvous for all our kith and kin,
And whether living far or near they all came trooping in
With shouts of "Hello, daddy!" as they fairly
stormed the place
And made a rush for mother, who would stop to wipe her
Upon her gingham apron before she kissed them all,
Hugging them proudly to her breast, the grownups and the
Then laughter rang throughout the home, and, Oh, the
jokes they told;
From Boston, Frank brought new ones, but father sprang
All afternoon we chatted, telling what we hoped to do,
The struggles we were making and the hardships we'd gone
We gathered round the fireside. How fast the hours would
It seemed before we'd settled down 'twas time to say
Those were the glad Thanksgivings, the old-time families
When relatives could still be friends and every heart was
The year has turned its circle,
The seasons come and go.
The harvest all is gathered in
And chilly north winds blow.
Orchards have shared their treasures,
The fields, their yellow grain,
So open wide the doorway~
Thanksgiving comes again!
By Robert Frost
My long two-pointed ladder's sticking through a tree
Toward heaven still,
And there's a barrel that I didn't fill
Beside it, and there may be two or three
Apples I didn't pick upon some bough.
But I am done with apple-picking now.
Essence of winter sleep is on the night,
The scent of apples: I am drowsing off.
I cannot rub the strangeness from my sight
I got from looking through a pane of glass
I skimmed this morning from the drinking trough
And held against the world of hoary grass.
It melted, and I let it fall and break.
But I was well
Upon my way to sleep before it fell,
And I could tell
What form my dreaming was about to take.
Magnified apples appear and disappear,
Stem end and blossom end,
And every fleck of russet showing dear.
My instep arch not only keeps the ache,
It keeps the pressure of a ladder-round.
I feel the ladder sway as the boughs bend.
And I keep hearing from the cellar bin
The rumbling sound
Of load on load of apples coming in.
For I have had too much
Of apple-picking: I am overtired
Of the great harvest I myself desired.
There were ten thousand thousand fruit to touch,
Cherish in hand, lift down, and not let fall.
That struck the earth,
No matter if not bruised or spiked with stubble,
Went surely to the cider-apple heap
As of no worth.
One can see what will trouble
This sleep of mine, whatever sleep it is.
Were he not gone,
The woodchuck could say whether it's like his
Long sleep, as I describe its coming on,
Or just some human sleep.
All in a Word
By Aileen Fisher
T for time to be together, turkey,
talk, and tangy weather.
H for harvest stored away, home, and hearth, and holiday.
A for autumn's frosty art, and abundance in the heart.
N for neighbors, and November, nice things, new things to
K for kitchen, kettles' croon, kith and kin expected
S for sizzles, sights, and sounds, and something special
That spells ~~~THANKS---for joy in living and a jolly
At Grandma's House
I like the taste of turkey
Any time throughout the year
But it never
seems to taste as good
As when Thanksgiving's here.
Could be it's all the trimmings
That are cooked with it to eat-
But I think it's
eating at Grandma's house
That makes it such a treat!
A Turkey Speaks
I have never understood
why anyone would
roast the turkey
and shuck the clams
and crisp the croutons
and shell the peas
and candy the sweets
and compote the cranberries
and bake the pies
and clear the table
and wash the dishes
and fall into bed
when they could sit back
and enjoy a hamburger.
Ballad of the Mayflower
By Linda G. Paulsen
There was a ship, Mayflower by name;
Took a trip, she crossed the main; Hey, Ho~
Full of people seeking peace,
Praying for freedom to increase;
Hey, Ho, Dee-o, Dee-o! The Pilgrims came to Plymouth
Rock; Hey, Ho~
Simple people, strudy stock; Hey, Ho~
To be free they crossed the sea,
Thanked the Lord on bended knee; Hey, Ho, Dee-o, Dee-o!
How when the crops were gathered in; Hey, Ho~
A dinner party did begin; Hey, Ho~
Pilgrims, Indians, pumpkin pie, Turkey, venison, corn, oh
Hey, Ho, Dee-o, Dee-o! Bet you thought my song was done;
But I've really just begun; Hey, Ho~
Ever since that autumn day,
Thanksgiving has been here to stay, Hey, Ho, Dee-o,
Venison for stew and roasting,
Oysters in the ashes toasting,
Geese done to a turn,
Berries (dried) and wild grapes (seeded)
Mixed with dough and gently kneaded~
What a feast to earn! Indian corn in strange disguises,
Ash cakes, hoe cakes (many sizes),
Kernels roasted brown...
After months of frugal living
What a welcome first Thanksgiving
There in Plymouth town.
~By Aileen Fisher
For the hay and the corn and the wheat that is
For the labor well done, and the barns that are heaped,
For the sun and the dew and the sweet honeycomb,
For the rose and the song and the harvest brought home --
For the trade and the skill and the wealth in our land,
For the cunning and strength of the workingman's hand,
For the good that our artists and poets have taught,
For the friendship that hope and affection have brought
For the homes that with purest affection are blest,
For the season of plenty and well-deserved rest,
For our country extending from sea unto sea;
The land that is known as the "Land of the
Heroes of Faith
by Edgar De Witt Jones
By faith the voyaging Mayflower embarked
from Old England and found harbor off the
bleak New England shores.
By faith the Pilgrim Fathers set up a government
on a new continent dedicated to God and
inspired by a desire to do his will on earth as it is
done in heaven.
By faith Thomas Jefferson was stirred to strike a
blow for political independence and wrote the
thrilling document that declared that all men are
created equal and endowed with certain
By faith he said, "Love your neighbor as
yourself and your country more than yourself."
By faith George Washington left his spacious
mansion at Mount Vernon and espoused the
cause of the tax-burdened colonists.
By faith he forsook ease and comfort, choosing
rather to suffer hardship with his men at Valley
Forge than to enjoy the favor of a king.
By faith he became the President of the newly
born republic and endured as seeing Him who is
By faith Alexander Hamilton established the
financial credit of the nation. In the eloquent
words of Daniel Webster: "He touched the
corpse of public credit and it sprang into life.
He smote the rock of national resources and
abundant streams of revenue flowed."
By faith James Madison gave richly of his
scholarly mind to form the Federal Constitution.
By faith Andrew Jackson fought the battle of the
impoverished and underprivileged many against
the privileged few.
By faith Abraham Lincoln bore the awful burden
of four purgatorial years seeking to preserve the
By faith he carried a dreadful war to its
conclusion without hate in his heart, saying, "I
have not only suffered for the South, I have
suffered with the South."
By faith Woodrow Wilson in the dreadful
heartbreak of a world war dreamed a dream of a
war less world in which the nations should be
leagued together to keep the peace.
By faith he glimpsed that promised land which,
like Moses, he might not enter. And what shall I more
For time would fail me if I should tell of that
the unnamed and obscure citizens who bore
unimagined burdens, sacrificed in silence and
endured nobly, that a government of the people,
for the people, and by the people might not
perish from the earth.
T is for turkey on Thanksgiving Day,
H is for "Hurry, I'm hungry!" we say.
A is for Auntie, she works and she mends,
N is for Native American friends.
K is for kitchen, the oven's on low,
S is for silverware, set in a row.
G is for Grandma, the one we love most,
I is for inside, where we're warm as toast.
V is for vegetables, eat them we try,
I is for icecream on top of the pie.
N is for never do we have enough dressing,
G is for Grandpa, who gives thanks for our
The Landing of the Pilgrim
The breaking waves dash'd high
On a stern and rock-bound coast,
And the woods against a stormy sky
Their giant branches toss'd;
And the heavy night hung dark,
The hills and waters o'er,
When a band of exiles moor'd their bark
On the wild New England shore.
Not as the conqueror comes,
They, the true-hearted, came;
Not with the roll of the stirring drums,
And the trumpet that sings of fame;
Not as the flying come,
In silence and in fear;-
They shook the depths of the desert gloom
With their hymns of lofty cheer.
Amidst the storm they sang,
And the stars heard and the sea:
And the sounding aisles of the dim woods rang
To the anthem of the free!
The ocean eagle soar'd
From his nest by the white wave's foam
And the rocking pines of the forest roar'd-
This was their welcome home!
There were men with hoary hair
Amidst that pilgrim band:-
Why had they come to wither there,
Away from their childhood's land?
There was woman's fearless eye,
Lit by her deep love's truth;
There was manhood's brow serenely high,
And the fiery heart of youth.
What sought they thus afar?
Bright jewels of the mine?
The wealth of seas, the spoils of war?
They sought a faith's pure shrine!
Ay, call it holy ground,
The soil where first they trode.
They have left unstained, what there they found
Freedom to worship God.
~Felicia Dorothea Hemans
Nature XXVII, Autumn
The morns are meeker than they were,
The nuts are getting brown;
The berry's cheek is plumper,
The rose is out of town.
The maple wears a gayer scarf,
The field a scarlet gown.
Lest I should be old-fashioned,
I'll put a trinket on.
Nothing Gold Can Stay
Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold,
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
Ode to Autumn
By John Keats
Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;
To bend with apples the mossed cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o'er-brimmed their clammy cells.
Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reaped furrow sound asleep,
Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers;
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cider-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings, hours by hours.
Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,---
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir, the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft,
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.
Over the River
Over the river and through the wood
To Grandmother's house we go.
The horse knows the way
To carry the sleigh
Through white and drifted snow.
Over the river and through the wood
Oh, how the wind does blow!
It stings the toes
And bites the nose,
As over the ground we go.
Over the river and through the wood
To have a first-rate play.
Hear the bells ring,
Hurrah forThanksgiving Day!
Over the river and through the wood,
Trot fast, my dapple gray!
Spring over the ground
Like a hunting hound,
For this is Thanksgiving Day.
Over the river and through the wood,
And straight through the barnyard gate.
We seem to go
It is so hard to wait!
Over the river and through the wood~
Now Grandmother's cap I spy!
Hurrah for fun!
Is the pudding done?
Hurrah for the pumpkin pie!
By Linda Maria Child
Song of the Pilgrims
By Nancy Sue Krenrich
Across the rolling, wind-swept sea
For months we've sailed along,
I see a land that's new to me
Against the blue horizon.
Oh, beautiful land of freedom born,
I've come across the sea
To reap your fruits and build my home,
And make my people free.
One day is there of the series
Termed Thanksgiving day,
Celebrated part at table,
Part in memory.
Neither patriarch nor pussy,
I dissect the play;
Seems it, to my hooded thinking,
Had there been no sharp subtraction
From the early sum,
Not an acre or a caption
Where was once a room,
Not a mention, whose small pebble
Wrinkled any bay,--
Unto such, were such assembly,
'T were Thanksgiving day.
move among us.
Silent, their gray lips mouth
prayers for the bountiful fields of
tall in quiet corners
invoking harvest home in a
strange tongue. This is
Gathered together, we
are visited by the grace of
~Myra Cohn Livingston
From the book, "Celebrations"
A Thanksgiving Alphabet
T...Turkeys, tablespreads, being together,
H...Happiness and homes to protect us from all
A...Aunts and uncles, a reunion in Fall,
N...Nieces and nephews, family members all!
K...Kind-hearted kin coming over for dinner,
S...Surely you'll have fun, but you won't get
G...Gourds and pumpkins, mouths open wide.
I...Indians and Pilgrims we remember with pride.
V...Very special times-there could even be snow.
I...Imagine what it was like at Plymouth long ago.
N...Never forget how the settlers led the way,
G...Giving thanks and blessing this special day.
The Thanksgiving Day Parade
By Jack Prelutsky
Thanksgiving Day is here today,
the great parade is under way,
and though it's drizzling quite a bit,
I'm sure that I'll see all of it.
Great balloons are floating by,
cartoon creatures stories high,
Mickey Mouse and Mother Goose,
Snoopy and a mammoth moose.
Humpty Dumpty, Smokey Bear
hover in the autumn air,
through the windy skies they sway,
I hope that they don't blow away.
Here comes Santa, shaking hands
as he waddles by the stands.
It's so much fun, I don't complain
when now it really starts to rain.
The bands are marching, here they come,
pipers pipe and drummers drum,
hear the tubas and the flutes,
see the clowns in silly suits.
It's pouring now, but not on me,
I'm just as dry as I can be,
I watch and watch, but don't get wet,
I'm watching on our TV set.
When Father Carves the Duck
We all look on with anxious eyes
When father carves the duck,
And mother almost always sighs
When father carves the duck;
Then all of us prepare to rise,
And hold our bibs before our eyes,
And be prepared for some surprise,
When father carves the duck.
He braces up and grabs a fork
Whene'er he carves a duck,
And won't allow a soul to talk
Until he's carved the duck.
The fork is jabbed into the sides,
Across the breast the knife he slides,
While every careful person hides
From flying chips of duck.
The platter's always sure to slip
When father carves a duck,
And how it makes the dishes skip!
Potatoes fly amuck!
The squash and cabbage leap in space,
We get some gravy in our face,
And father mutters a Hindoo grace
Whene'er he carves a duck.
We then have learned to walk around
The dining room and pluck
From off the window-sills and walls
Our share of father's duck.
While father growls and blows and jaws
And swears the knife was full of flaws,
And mother laughs at him because
He couldn't carve a duck.
~By E. V. Wright
A turkey is a funny bird,
Its head goes wobble, wobble,
All it knows is just one word,
"Gobble, gobble, gobble."
Tell me, Mr. Turkey,
Don't you feel afraid
When you hear us talking
'Bout the plans we've made?
Can't you hear us telling
How we're going to eat
Cranberries and stuffing
With our turkey meat?
Turkey, heed my warning:
Better fly away;
Or you will be sorry
On Thanksgiving day.
When all the leaves are off the boughs,
And nuts and apples gathered in,
And cornstalks waiting for the cows,
And pumpkins safe in barn and bin,
Then Mother says, "My children dear,
The fields are brown, and autumn flies;
Thanksgiving Day is very near,
And we must make thanksgiving pies!"
(Edgar Albert Guest, 1881-1959)
Gettin' together to smile an' rejoice,
An' eatin' an' laughin' with folks of your choice;
An' kissin' the girls an' declarin' that they
Are growin more beautiful day after day;
Chattin' an' braggin' a bit with the men,
Buildin' the old family circle again;
Livin' the wholesome an' old-fashioned cheer,
Just for awhile at the end of the year.
Greetings fly fast as we crowd through the door
And under the old roof we gather once more
Just as we did when the youngsters were small;
Mother's a little bit grayer, that's all.
Father's a little bit older, but still
Ready to romp an' to laugh with a will.
Here we are back at the table again
Tellin' our stories as women an men.
Bowed are our heads for a moment in prayer;
Oh, but we're grateful an' glad to be there.
Home from the east land an' home from the west,
Home with the folks that are dearest an' best.
Out of the sham of the cities afar
We've come for a time to be just what we are.
Here we can talk of ourselves an' be frank,
Forgettin' position an' station an' rank.
Give me the end of the year an' its fun
When most of the plannin' an' toilin' is done;
Bring all the wanderers home to the nest,
Let me sit down with the ones I love best,
Hear the old voices still ringin' with song,
See the old faces unblemished by wrong,
See the old table with all of its chairs
An I'll put soul in my Thanksgivin' prayers.
(John Greenleaf Whittier)
Ah! on Thanksgiving day, when from East and from West,
From North and from South comes 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?
Oh, fruit loved of boyhood! the old days recalling,
When wood-grapes were purpling and brown nuts were
When wild, ugly faces we carved in its skin,
Glaring out through the dark with a candle within!
When we laughed round the corn-heap, with hearts all in
Our chair a broad pumpkin,---our lantern the moon,
Telling tales of the fairy who travelled 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
Golden-tinted and fair as thy own Pumpkin pie!
Thoughts of Thanksgiving
(Charles Frederick White)
Thanksgiving day is coming soon,
That long remembered day
When nature gives her blessed boon
To all America.
On that glad day, in all our land,
The people, in their wake,
Give thanks to God, whose mighty hand
Deals blessings good and great.
The roast goose, steaming on the plate,
The sweet potato cobbler,
The cranberry sauce, the pudding baked,
The seasoned turkey gobbler,
All these delights and many more,
From north, south, west and east,
Do all the nation keep in store
For this Thanksgiving feast.
Alas, for those who are denied
This blessed boon of God!
May all the needy be supplied
Like Israel by the rod.
(John Charles McNeill, 1874-1907)
Cows in the stall and sheep in the fold;
Clouds in the west, deep crimson and gold;
A heron's far flight to a roost somewhere;
The twitter of killdees keen in the air;
The noise of a wagon that jolts through the gloam
On the last load home.
There are lights in the windows; a blue spire of smoke
Climbs from the grange grove of elm and oak.
The smell of the Earth, where the night pours to
Its dewy libation, is sweeter than myrrh,
And an incense to Toil is the smell of the loam
On the last load home.
(Lizelia Augusta Jenkins Moorer)
Let us give thanks to God above,
Thanks for expressions of His love,
Seen in the book of nature, grand
Taught by His love on every hand.
Let us be thankful in our hearts,
Thankful for all the truth imparts,
For the religion of our Lord,
All that is taught us in His word.
Let us be thankful for a land,
That will for such religion stand;
One that protects it by the law,
One that before it stands in awe.
Thankful for all things let us be,
Though there be woes and misery;
Lessons they bring us for our good-
Later 'twill all be understood.
Thankful for peace o'er land and sea,
Thankful for signs of liberty,
Thankful for homes, for life and health,
Pleasure and plenty, fame and wealth.
Thankful for friends and loved ones, too,
Thankful for all things, good and true,
Thankful for harvest in the fall,
Thankful to Him who gave it all.
The Feast-time of the Year
(Dora Read Goodale)
This is the feast-time of the year,
When plenty pours her wine of cheer,
And even humble boards may spare
To poorer poor a kindly share.
While bursting barns and granaries know
A richer, fuller overflow.
And they who dwell in golden ease
Blest without toil, yet toil to please.
Singing, the Reapers Homeward
Singing, the reapers homeward come, Io! Io!
Merrily singing the harvest home, Io! Io!
Along the field, along the road,
Where autumn is scattering leaves abroad,
Homeward cometh the ripe last load, Io! Io!
Singers are filling the twilight dim
With cheerful song, Io! Io!
The spirit of song ascends to Him
Who causeth the corn to grow.
He freely sent the gentle rain,
The summer sun glorified hill and plain,
To golden perfection brought the grain, Io! Io!
Silently, nightly, fell the dew,
Gently the rain, Io! Io!
But who can tell how the green corn grew,
Or who beheld it grow?
Oh! God the good, in sun and rain,
He looked on the flourishing fields and grain,
Till they all appeared on hill and plain
Like living gold, Io! Io!