Saturday, November 23, 2013

Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and My Birthday

Here in the U.S., Thanksgiving Day takes place on November 28 this year, which also happens to be the first full day of Hanukkah, and my birthday. Thanksgiving, for me, has always been the unofficial start of the Christmas season, and my house is already decorated (including my giant Christmas tree and three smaller ones). Needless to say, it’s all wonderful, and after church in the early AM, I’ll be home cooking dinner and then feasting with friends. My birthday “cake” will be a large pumpkin pie! In lieu of a Thanksgiving/Hanukkah week prompt or essay, following are some lovely poems that speak to these special holidays. Even if you don’t celebrate Thanksgiving or Hanukkah this week, I hope you’ll enjoy the poems and keep in mind that it’s always a good time to remember the things, people, blessings, and gifts for which we’re thankful.

(Old Rhyme, Author Unknown)

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!

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.

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 for Thanksgiving 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 barn-yard gate.
       We seem to go
       Extremely slow,—
  It is so hard to wait!

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

By Edgar Guest

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.

More Poems:

The Thanksgiving by George Herbert

The Thanksgivings by Harriet Maxwell Converse (From an Iroquois Prayer)

A List of Praises by Anne Porter

Dusting by Marilyn Nelson

Starfish by Eleanor Lerman

by Rumi (Translated by Coleman Barks)

Thanks by W. S. Merwin


  1. Happy Birthday, Thanksgiving and Hanukkah! A very special day indeed. Thanks for the lovely poems, this wonderful blog, and everything you do. Hugs to Chaucey, too !

    1. Thanks so much, Jama, for your kind words and good wishes! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

  2. Lovely poems, Adele – thank you! I wish you a happy Thanksgiving and a wonderful birthday.

  3. Happy birthday and happy Thanksgiving, Adele! Hope the day is a great one for you! For me it will be drumsticks and dreidels! Wishing all the blog readers joy (and poetry) throughout this season of light.

    1. Thanks so much, Rich! Happy Hanukkah and happy Thanksgiving! Joy and light to you too.

  4. the pilgrims were a brave lot
    yet the witches of Salem still curse their names
    and Indians mourn their colonization
    set boxed imaginations free!
    it's not all about
    turkey and cranberry sauce
    it's about the stuffing?

    1. Brilliant, Risa! Taking a look at things from different angles is one of your trademarks, and you always do it so well. Thanks for sharing this.

    2. Well-put, Jamie! Your style, Risa is something like looking at photographs from odd angles and seeing things most people don't notice. Thanks for sharing and happy Thanksgiving!

    3. That's definitely intended to be a compliment, Risa!

  5. Just noticed the title on Chaucer's picture in the sidebar. So clever. I hope 'Santa Paws' brings him lots of goodies. He's so adorable!

  6. Wow! Happy Holidays, Everyone! Thanks for your kind words. It brings a smile to my face.