This week: GivingThanks Poetry - Theirs and Yours!Edited by: Fyn-elf
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To give thanks in solitude is enough. Thanksgiving has wings and goes where it must go.
Your prayer knows much more about it than you do. ~~Victor Hugo
Best of all is it to preserve everything in a pure, still heart, and let there be for every pulse a thanksgiving,
and for every breath a song. ~~Konrad von Gesner
From too much love of living,
From hope and fear set free,
We thank with brief thanksgiving
Whatever gods may be
That no life lives for ever;
That dead men rise up never;
That even the weariest river
Winds somewhere safe to sea. ~~Algernon Charles Swinburne
"Over the River and Through the Wood", is a Thanksgiving poem by Lydia Maria Child. I remember singing this song endlessly on our way to Thanksgiving at my grandmother's house in North Adams, Massachusetts.
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.
Over the river, and through the wood,
to Grandfather's house away!
We would not stop for doll or top,
for 'tis Thanksgiving Day.
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.
"Lydia Maria Francis Child (born Lydia Maria Francis) (February 11, 1802 – October 20, 1880), was an American abolitionist, women's rights activist, Native American rights activist, novelist, journalist, and opponent of American expansionism.
Her journals, both fiction and domestic manuals, reached wide audiences from the 1820s through the 1850s. At times she shocked her audience as she tried to take on issues of both male dominance and white supremacy in some of her stories.
Despite these challenges, Child may be most remembered for her poem "Over the River and Through the Wood." Her grandparents' house, which she wrote about visiting, was restored by Tufts University in 1976 and stands near the Mystic River on South Street, in Medford, Massachusetts." --From Wikipedia
I can never hear this without seeing New England in my mind's eye and smelling crisp, cold mountain air. To me it means family, hearth, home away from home, my grandmother's hugs and love. Many things for which I am grateful!
Simple Gifts by Joseph Brackett, first popularized by Aaron Copeland in his ballet, Appalachian Spring
Tis the gift to be simple
'Tis the gift to be free
'Tis the gift to come down
Where we ought to be
And when we find ourselves
In the place just right
'Twill be in the valley
Of love and delight
When true simplicity is gained
To bow and to bend
We shall not be ashamed
To turn, turn
Will be our delight
'Till by turning, turning
We come round right
Thanksgiving at my Great Aunt Mary's house, after my grandmother passed away, began and ended with the singing of this song. In between was a round-the-table listing of three things each of us was thankful for. Everyone from the great-great-uncle and his litany of friends, books and a comfortable bed, to my folks, the little kids lisping their thoughts to whatever neighbor, friend or total stranger was included. My Great Aunt Mary could do up a turkey like no one else ever has since. I follow her recipe (including the requisite 'Bell's Seasoning') yet it never quite measures up to my memory of many years past.
These days, Thanksgiving tends to be a bit different, but still retains bits and pieces of those in the past. I remember one year as a child seeing the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade in New York City. I was one of the lucky ones who got to actually see that Santa at the end of the parade up close and personal. Every year since I've watched the parade no matter where in (or out) of the country I've been. It's all tangled up together and always makes my heart sing.
The past few years, I've written a poem that gets read at the end of our dinner before everyone wanders off to the game, a nap or (hopefully) the kitchen to help clean up. Nothing too long, but a listing of little things I am thankful for. This year, with my husband's stroke and a few other happenings, I (we) have much to be grateful for.
What are you grateful for? Consider writing about three things and why...
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Traveling the globe, visiting different countries, living in a few, everyone everywhere has some sort of day where being thankful for what one has is the focus. It is a needed day as too many folks in too many places are so wrapped up in the day to day existence of existing that those things get lost in the kid's homework assignments, the unpaid plumber's bill, the doctor trips, the grandkids, the ground shaking or planes flying too low overhead.
I remember a great-great-uncle (a different one) who'd fall asleep at night under a thin, worn blanket reciting a listing of what he was thnkful for. Every single night. The list changes over the years from being warm and having a loving wife and children, to having a blanket at all, to being alive and strong enough to crush brick all day. Sometimes it was simply to be alive. You see, he was in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. His wife was elsewhere, having been moved to another camp with his children. When the camps were liberated, it took him seven years to find them. He found them all, which, by his words, was 'unheard of.' We would hear the stories of each of them reciting that list every night. In their nineties, they still said their lists which then included thirty-seven great-grand-children, their own home in America, their wits and their health.
Personally, this year, I am especially grateful that my husband not only survived his stroke but is doing quite well all things considered. I'm thankful for our 'new-normal' even though it is quite different from the 'old normal' that we never really appreciated quite enough. I also truly appreciate the friends and family who went the extra marathon of miles to be there, to help, who held me when I cried (as I didn't do anywhere near him) and for those who just listened when I needed to blather. They are all worthy of sainthood!
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