The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review
littlereview

Poem for Thanksgiving


The Pumpkin
By John Greenleaf Whittier


Oh, greenly and fair in the lands of the sun,
The vines of the gourd and the rich melon run,
And the rock and the tree and the cottage enfold,
With broad leaves all greenness and blossoms all gold,
Like that which o'er Nineveh's prophet once grew,
While he waited to know that his warning was true,
And longed for the storm-cloud, and listened in vain
For the rush of the whirlwind and red fire-rain.

On the banks of the Xenil the dark Spanish maiden
Comes up with the fruit of the tangled vine laden;
And the Creole of Cuba laughs out to behold
Through orange-leaves shining the broad spheres of gold;
Yet with dearer delight from his home in the North,
On the fields of his harvest the Yankee looks forth,
Where crook-necks are coiling and yellow fruit shines,
And the sun of September melts down on his vines.

Ah! on Thanksgiving day, when from East and from West,
From North and from South comes the pilgrim and guest;
When the gray-haired New Englander sees round his board
The old broken links of affection restored;
When the care-wearied man seeks his mother once more,
And the worn matron smiles where the girl smiled before;
What moistens the lip and what brightens the eye,
What calls back the past, like the rich Pumpkin pie?

Oh, fruit loved of boyhood! the old days recalling,
When wood-grapes were purpling and brown nuts were falling!
When wild, ugly faces we carved in its skin,
Glaring out through the dark with a candle within!
When we laughed round the corn-heap, with hearts all in tune,
Our chair a broad pumpkin, - our lantern the moon,
Telling tales of the fairy who travelled like steam
In a pumpkin-shell coach, with two rats for her team!

Then thanks for thy present! none sweeter or better
E'er smoked from an oven or circled a platter!
Fairer hands never wrought at a pastry more fine,
Brighter eyes never watched o'er its baking, than thine!
And the prayer, which my mouth is too full to express,
Swells my heart that thy shadow may never be less,
That the days of thy lot may be lengthened below,
And the fame of thy worth like a pumpkin-vine grow,
And thy life be as sweet, and its last sunset sky
Golden-tinted and fair as thy own Pumpkin pie!

--------

In honor of Thanksgiving, I have already gotten 1) my period, 2) a guilt trip from my mother for not guilt tripping my son into playing with his much younger girl cousins when he had been looking forward all week to playing some online game with his brother after school, and 3) a glimpse of the war my father and sister are incapable of averting if they spend more than two hours under one roof. On the positive side, mother had decided to stop snarking by dinnertime, the kids all played very nicely since they were only together for two hours and had all gotten to do what they wanted to do before getting together, and I managed to eat lasagna and stay out of the family feud. ldybastet kept me sane at a very bad moment for which I thank her profoundly!

The rest of the day was getting work done (Threshold's Tuesday night ratings were poor and that probably spells doom for the show, James Marsters and Jolene Blalock are making a horror movie together and incidentally Marsters will be back on Smallville, woo hoo), picking up older son from the bus which was very very late due to Beltway traffic meaning younger son was very very bored waiting when he wanted to be home playing, returning DVDs to the library, getting home from parents' exhausted and watching Persuasion (the 1995 one) which I enjoyed very much -- Jane Austen with ships and naval captains! It was, as my friend Vera had told me, the missing home life scenes from O'Brian complete with Jack Aubrey's speech about never taking a woman on board, set in Bath which I visited in 2003, thoroughly enjoyable even if I mixed up all the girls' names. I read the book twice and had it all mixed up with P&P and Emma and now I will never forget which one it is. Yeah, I suck when it comes to Austen...bad feminist lit critic! Bad!

Tomorrow will have in-laws as well as sister and her brood and my parents...the food, at least, will undoubtedly be marvelous, even though I am not a great roast turkey fan or even a stuffing or potatoes fan (I do Thanksgiving for the pumpkin pie). My family generally behaves around my in-laws, I think the Lutheran pastor thing creates an ethos that discourages brattiness and anyway my husband's father is generally good at deflecting imminent battles -- last year was a nightmare but last year my in-laws did not come, as my husband's mother was very sick. So I am hopeful. My list of things for which I am grateful is pretty similar to last year's, so rather than subjecting you to redundancy, I shall just link.

And a lovely thing happened tonight for the first time this season while we were at my parents, which did not stick but looked gorgeous in the air, with which I will leave you...



Happy Thanksgiving, people in the US, and everyone else, have a lovely Thursday! Also, krabapple: *snugs*

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