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A Thanksgiving poem by George Parsons Lathrop

He also wrote the official annual Thanksgiving obit for Tom Turkey

  • Thanksgiving Turkey
  • Valleys lay in sunny vapor,  
  •    And a radiance mild was shed
  • From each tree that like a taper
  •    At a feast stood. Then we said,
  •    “Our feast, too, shall soon be spread,
  •           Of good Thanksgiving turkey.”
  • And already still November
  •    Drapes her snowy table here.
  • Fetch a log, then; coax the ember;
  •    Fill your hearts with old-time cheer;
  •    Heaven be thanked for one more year,
  •           And our Thanksgiving turkey!
  • Welcome, brothers—all our party
  •    Gathered in the homestead old!
  • Shake the snow off and with hearty
  •    Hand-shakes drive away the cold;
  •    Else your plate you’ll hardly hold
  •           Of good Thanksgiving turkey.
  • When the skies are sad and murky,
  •    ‘Tis a cheerful thing to meet
  • Round this homely roast of turkey—
  •    Pilgrims, pausing just to greet,
  •    Then, with earnest grace, to eat
  •           A new Thanksgiving turkey.
  • And the merry feast is freighted
  •    With its meanings true and deep.
  • Those we’ve loved and those we’ve hated,
  •    All, to-day, the rite will keep,
  •    All, to-day, their dishes heap
  •           With plump Thanksgiving turkey.
  • But how many hearts must tingle
  •    Now with mournful memories!
  • In the festal wine shall mingle
  •    Unseen tears, perhaps from eyes
  •    That look beyond the board where lies
  •           Our plain Thanksgiving turkey.
  • See around us, drawing nearer,
  •    Those faint yearning shapes of air—
  • Friends than whom earth holds none dearer
  •    No—alas! they are not there:
  •    Have they, then, forgot to share
  •           Our good Thanksgiving turkey?
  • Some have gone away and tarried
  •    Strangely long by some strange wave;
  • Some have turned to foes; we carried
  •    Some unto the pine-girt grave:
  •    They’ll come no more so joyous-brave
  •           To take Thanksgiving turkey.
  • Nay, repine not. Let our laughter
  •    Leap like firelight up again.
  • Soon we touch the wide Hereafter,
  •    Snow-field yet untrod of men:
  •    Shall we meet once more—and when?—
  •           To eat Thanksgiving turkey.

George Parsons Lathrop

George Parsons Lathrop

George Parsons Lathrop (185-1898) was an American poet, novelist, and newspaper editor. Although better known for his newspaper work – he served as associate editor of the Atlantic Monthly from 1875 until he became editor of the Boston Courier in 1879. He also edited a poetry anthology and wrote several novels. In 1883, he established the American Copyright League, which provided important contributions to the founding of International Copyright Law. Besides penning the official annual Thanksgiving obit for Tom Turkey, Lathrop is also famous for having married Rose Hawthorne, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s daughter. The couple converted to Catholicism in 1891.

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