Dear Readers: This year, due to COVID-19 and other circumstances, many families and friends will be celebrating separately. In the spirit of merriment and gratitude, here are some classic poems to celebrate the holiday as curated by poetry experts Bob Holman & Margery Snyder. While your loved ones might not be physically together, you can have fun reading these to each other.
Known as “Over the River and Through the Wood,” this poem from 1844illustrates a snow-filled New England Thanksgiving journey. In 1897, it was made into the familiar song.
“The New-England Boy’s Song About Thanksgiving Day”
by Lydia Maria Child
“Over the river, and through the wood, / To grandfather’s house we go; / The horse knows the way, / To carry the sleigh, / Through the white and drifted snow.”
Know any pumpkin pie lovers? They might enjoy this poem from 1850.
by John Greenleaf Whittier
“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!”
As a reminder that this day means more than just the day itself, this 19th-century poem harkens back to Thanksgiving memories of yore.
by Emily Dickinson
“One day is there of the series / Termed “Thanksgiving Day” / Celebrated part at table / Part in memory-”
This 1918 poem of surviving through hardship and still being thankful is very relevant in 2020.
by Carl Sandburg
“I remember here by the fire, / In the flickering reds and saffrons, / They came in a ramshackle tub, / Pilgrims in tall hats, / Pilgrims of iron jaws, / Drifting by weeks on beaten seas, / And the random chapters say / They were glad and sang to God.”
And, finally, this 1921 verse is perfect to share with children.
by Langston Hughes
“When the night winds whistle through the trees and blow the crisp brown leaves a-crackling down, / When the autumn moon is big and yellow-orange and round, / When old Jack Frost is sparkling on the ground, / It’s Thanksgiving Time!”
“Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book – featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette – is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit creatorspublishing.com for more information.
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