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AO Thanksgiving Poems AmblesideOnline.org

AmblesideOnline Thanksgiving Poems

(AO suggested stories, poems, Thanksgiving hymns, and Christmas music for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's.)






01 - We Thank Thee

For flowers that bloom about our feet;
For tender grass, so fresh, so sweet;
For song of bird, and hum of bee;
For all things fair we hear or see,
Father in heaven, we thank Thee.

For blue of stream and blue of sky;
For pleasant shade of branches high;
For fragrant air and cooling breeze;
For beauty of the blooming trees,
Father in heaven, we thank Thee.

~~Ralph Waldo Emerson 1803-1882




02

May all who share these gifts today
Be blessed by Thee, we humbly pray.

What God gives and what we take
'Tis a gift for Christ his sake;

Be the meal of beans or peas,
God be thanked for those and these;

Have we flesh or have we fish,
All are fragments from His dish.

~~Robert Herrick 1591-1674




03

O Lord, that lends me life,
Lend me a heart replete with thankfulness!

~~William Shakespeare 1564-1616




04

Thou that hast given so much to me,
Give one thing more--a grateful heart:
Not thankful when it pleaseth me,
As if thy blessings had spare days,
But such a heart whose Pulse may be
Thy Praise.

~~George Herbert 1593-1633




05 - A Thanksgiving

For summer rains, and winter's sun,
For autumn breezes crisp and sweet;
For labors doing, to be done,
And labors all complete;
For April, May, and lovely June,
For bud, and bird, and berried vine;
For joys of morning, night, and noon,
My thanks, dear Lord, are Thine!

For loving friends on every side;
For children full of joyous glee;
For all the blessed Heavens wide,
And for the sounding sea;
For mountains, valleys, forests deep;
For maple, oak, and lofty pine;
For rivers on their seaward sweep,
My thanks, dear Lord, are Thine!

For light and air, for sun and shade,
For merry laughter and for cheer;
For music and the glad parade
Of blessings through the year;
For all the fruitful earth's increase,
For home and life, and love divine,
For hope, and faith, and perfect peace,
My thanks, dear Lord, are Thine!

~~John Kendrick Bangs 1862-1922




06

Almighty One, in the woods I am blessed. Happy everyone in the woods. Every tree speaks through thee. O God! What glory in the woodland! On the heights is peace-- peace to serve Him.

~~Ludwig van Beethoven 1770-1827




07 - Landing of the Pilgrims

The breaking waves dashed high,
On a stern and rock-bound coast,
And the woods against a stormy sky
Their giant branches tossed;

And the heavy night hung dark
The hills and waters o'er,
When a band of exiles moored 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 soared
From his nest by the white wave's foam;
And the rocking pines of the forest roared--
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 trod.
They have left unstained what there they found--
Freedom to worship God.

~~Felicia Dorothea Hemans l793-1835




08

Oh, the Lord is good to me,
And so I thank the Lord,
For giving me the things I need:
The sun, the rain and the appleseed:
The Lord is good to me.

~~attributed to John Chapman, aka "Johnny Appleseed" USA, 1774-1845




09 - The New-England Boy's Song About Thanksgiving Day

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 't is 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.

Over the river, and through the wood,
With a clear blue winter sky,
The dogs do bark,
And children hark,
As we go jingling by.

Over the river, and through the wood,
To have a first-rate play--
Hear the bells ring
Ting a ling ding,
Hurra for Thanksgiving Day!

Over the river, and through the wood--
No matter for winds that blow;
Or if we get
The sleigh upset,
Into a bank of snow.

Over the river, and through the wood,
To see little John and Ann;
We will kiss them all,
And play snow-ball,
And stay as long as we can.

Over the river, and through the wood,
Trot fast, my dapple grey!
Spring over the ground,
Like a hunting hound,
For 't is Thanksgiving Day!

Over the river, and through the wood,
And straight through the barn-yard gate;
We seem to go
Extremely slow,
It is so hard to wait.

Over the river, and through the wood--
Old Jowler hears our bells;
He shakes his pow,
With a loud bow wow,
And thus the news he tells.

Over the river, and through the wood--
When grandmother sees us come,
She will say, Oh dear,
The children are here,
Bring a pie for every one.

Over the river, and through the wood--
Now grandmother's cap I spy!
Hurra for the fun!
Is the pudding done?
Hurra for the pumpkin pie!

~~Lydia Maria Child




10 - The Pilgrim Fathers

O God, beneath Thy guiding hand
Our exiled fathers crossed the sea;
And when they trod the wintry strand,
With prayer and psalm they worshipped Thee.

Thou heard'st, well pleased, the song, the prayer:
Thy blessing came; and still its power
Shall onward through all ages bear
The memory of that holy hour.

Laws, freedom, truth, and faith in God
Came with those exiles o'er the waves;
And where their pilgrim feet have trod,
The God they trusted guards their graves.

And here Thy name, O, God of love,
Their children's children shall adore,
Till these eternal hills remove,
And spring adorns the earth no more.

~~Leonard Bacon, 1802-1881




11 - Harvest Home

Come, ye thankful people, come,
Raise the song of harvest home:
All is safely gathered in,
Ere the winter storms begin;
God, our Maker, doth provide
For our wants to be supplied:
Come to God's own temple, come,
Raise the song of harvest home.

All the world is God's own field,
Fruit unto His praise to yield;
Wheat and tares together sown,
Unto joy or sorrow grown;
First the blade, and then the ear,
Then the full corn shall appear:
Lord of harvest, grant that we
Wholesome grain and pure may be.

For the Lord our God shall come,
And shall take His harvest home;
From His field shall in that day
All offenses purge away;
Give His angels charge at last
In the fire the tares to cast;
But the fruitful ears to store
In His garner evermore.

Even so, Lord, quickly come
To Thy final harvest home;
Gather Thou Thy people in,
Free from sorrow, free from sin;
There, forever purified,
In Thy presence to abide:
Come, with all Thine angels, come,
Raise the glorious harvest home.

~~Henry Alford, 1810-1871
(This is the hymn that Frank the cabbie sang in The Magician's Nephew, just before Aslan began creating Narnia. Lyrics and MIDI are here.)




12 - Thanksgiving

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.

~~Lizelia Augusta Jenkins Moorer fl. 1907




13 - Thoughts of Thanksgiving

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.

~~Charles Frederick White Nov 1895
From: "Plea of the Negro Soldier and a Hundred Other Poems" by Charles Frederick White




The following were submitted by Lynn Bruce and her comments have been included.

14 - Song of the Pilgrims

The breeze has swelled the whitening sail,
The blue waves curl beneath the gale,
And, bounding with the wave and wind,
We leave Old England's shores behind --
Leave behind our native shore,
Homes, and all we loved before.

The deep may dash, the winds may blow,
The storm spread out its wings of woe,
Till sailors' eyes can see a shroud
Hung in the folds of every cloud;
Still, as long as life shall last,
From that shore we'll speed us fast.

For we would rather never be,
Than dwell where mind cannot be free,
But bows beneath a despot's rod
Even where it seeks to worship God.
Blasts of heaven, onward sweep!
Bear us o'er the troubled deep!

O see what wonders meet our eyes!
Another land, and other skies!
Columbian hills have met our view!
Adieu! Old England's shores, adieu!
Here, at length, our feet shall rest,
Hearts be free, and homes be blessed.

As long as yonder firs shall spread
Their green arms o'er the mountains head --
As long as yonder cliffs shall stand,
Where join the ocean and the land --
Shall those cliffs and mountains be
Proud retreats for liberty.

Now to the King of kings we'll raise
The paean loud of sacred praise:
More loud than sounds the swelling breeze,
More loud than speak the rolling seas!
Happier lands have met our view!
England's shores, adieu! adieu!

~~Thomas Cogswell Upham 1799-1872??




"Upon reading this next poem I came upon the thought that while historians poke and prod through the records of various cultures trying to discover the true origin of the idea of a feast of thanksgiving, perhaps it was our own Lord and Saviour who set the example first..."

15 - (from) The Supper of Thanksgiving

For the bread and for the wine,
For the pledge that seals Him mine,
For the words of love divine,
We give Thee thanks, O Lord.

For the body and the blood,
For the more than angel's food,
For the boundless grace of God,
We give Thee thanks, O Lord.

For the chalice whence we sip
Moisture for the parched lip,
For the board of fellowship,
We give Thee thanks, O Lord.

For the feast of love and peace
Bidding all our sorrows cease,
Earnest of the kingdom's bliss,
We give Thee thanks, O Lord.

For the paschal lamb here given,
For the loaf without the leaven,
For the manna dropt from heaven,
We give Thee thanks, O Lord.

Only bread and only wine,
Yet to faith the solemn sign
Of the heavenly and divine!
We give Thee thanks, O Lord.

~~Horatius Bonar (1808-1889)




"The following poem is also a favorite of mine, and just perfect for reading at the Thanksgiving table before prayer..."

16 - (from) Harvest Hymn

Whoever fails, Thou dost not fail;
Whoever sleeps, Thou dost not sleep;
With fattening shower, and fostering gale,
They mercy brings the time to reap;
Man marks each season and its sign,
And sows the seed and plants the tree,
But form, growth, fullness, all are Thine, --
Lord of the harvest, praise to Thee!

O God! it is a pleasant thing
To see the precious grain expand,
And the broad hands of Plenty fling
Her golden largess o'er the land;
To see the fruitage swell and glow,
And bow with wealth the parent tree;
To see the purple vintage flow --
Lord of abundance, praise to Thee!

Praise for the glorious harvest days,
And all the blessings that we share;
For the unbounded sunlight praise
And for the free and vital air;
Praise for the faith that looks above;
The hope of immortality;
For life, health, virtue, truth and love,
Maker and Giver, praise to Thee!

~~John Critchley Prince (1808-1866)




Prayer

Lord, behold our family here assembled. We thank thee for this place in which we dwell, for the love that unites us, for the peace accorded to us this day, for the health, for the food, and the bright skies that make our lives delightful, for our friends in all parts of the earth.
Give us courage, gaiety, and the quiet mind. Spare to us our friends, soften us to our enemies. Bless us, if may be, in all our innocent endeavours. If may not, give us the strength to encounter that which is to come.May we be brave in peril, constant in tribulation, temperate in wrath, and in all changes of fortune loyal and loving to one another.
As the clay to the potter, as the windmill to the wind, as the children of their sire, we beseech of Thee this help and mercy for Christs sake. Amen.

~~Robert Louis Stevenson




Luke 17:11 is a Bible passage about the importance of expressing thanks...




Psalm 111 and Psalm 100, A Psalm of praise, also work well on Thanksgiving