I'll admit that I've only read the occasional poem since graduating high school, when we'd have to flip open our books and search for every little meaning behind every little stanza. More often than not, the poems that have stuck with me over the years were the ones that evoked the emotions of a season or place. And since the most grateful day of the year is my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving poems are an especially nice treat. In other words, if you're looking to get into the thankful mood, just in time for the season of giving, allow the beauty of the written word to help you out.
Since I think it' safe to assume that the majority of us haven't had the time to delve into a proper poem (and I'm not talking a meme or greeting card), I think a list of tips to refresh our collective memories on how to read a poem is in order. The Library of Congress seemed like a reasonable authority on the topic, suggesting you read the poem slowly and whip out your dictionary (or app) to look up any words you aren't familiar with.
I also find it's effective to channel your inner Morgan Freeman, or another celebrity with an impressive voice, to really get the most out of a poem. But no matter whose voice you think of when you read these Thanksgiving poems, try to picture the season and warmth and the emotions they evoke, so you can really get yourself in the holiday spirit.
"Gratefulness" — George Herbert
Thou that has 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
"Be Thankful" — Unknown Author
Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire. If you did, what would there be to look forward to?
Be thankful when you don’t know something, for it gives you the opportunity to learn.
Be thankful for the difficult times.During those times you grow.
Be thankful for your limitations, because they give you opportunities for improvement.
Be thankful for each new challenge, because it will build your strength and character.
Be thankful for your mistakes. They will teach you valuable lessons.
Be thankful when you’re tired and weary, because it means you’ve made a difference.
It’s easy to be thankful for the good things. A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who are also thankful for the setbacks.
Gratitude can turn a negative into a positive. Find a way to be thankful for your troubles, and they can become your blessings.
"For Each New Morning" — Ralph Waldo Emerson
For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food,
For love and friends,
For everything thy goodness sends.
"Thankful" — Tony Scallo
To be thankful is to be grateful
For another day on this earth
But let it not be secluded
To only a single day every year
Every day you have on this earth is one to be thankful for.
"Gratitude" — Emily Dickinson
Gratitude — is not the mention
Of a Tenderness,
But its still appreciation
Out of Plumb of Speech.
When the Sea return no Answer
By the Line and Lead
Proves it there's no Sea, or rather
A remoter Bed?
"Autumn" — Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Thou comest, Autumn, heralded by the rain,
With banners, by great gales incessant fanned,
Brighter than brightest silks of Samarcand,
And stately oxen harnessed to thy wain!
Thou standest, like imperial Charlemagne,
Upon thy bridge of gold; thy royal hand
Outstretched with benedictions o'er the land,
Blessing the farms through all thy vast domain!
Thy shield is the red harvest moon, suspended
So long beneath the heaven's o'er-hanging eaves;
Thy steps are by the farmer's prayers attended;
Like flames upon an altar shine the sheaves;
And, following thee, in thy ovation splendid,
Thine almoner, the wind, scatters the golden leaves!
"Gratitude" — Henry Van Dyke
"Do you give thanks for this? — or that?"
No, God be thanked
I am not grateful
In that cold, calculating way, with blessing ranked
As one, two, three, and four, — that would be hateful.
I only know that every day brings good above
My poor deserving;
I only feel that, in the road of Life, true Love
Is leading me along and never swerving.
Whatever gifts and mercies in my lot may fall,
I would not measure
As worth a certain price in praise, or great or small;
But take and use them all with simple pleasure.
For when we gladly eat our daily bread, we bless
The Hand that feeds us;
And when we tread the road of Life in cheerfulness,
Our very heart-beats praise the Love that leads us.
"November Night" — Adelaide Crapsey
With faint dry sound,
Like steps of passing ghosts,
The leaves, frost-crisp'd, break from the trees
Check out Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:
Watch full episodes of Romper's Doula Diaries on Facebook Watch.