11/27/2014 08:07 am ET Updated Jan 27, 2015

Thanksgiving Poetry Potluck

Ah, Thanksgiving. A time of pie and petty squabbling, of turnips and togetherness. When you gather together with our nearest and dearest, break out one of these five verses during the inevitable awkward silences.

"The Pumpkin" by John Greenleaf Whittier
Whittier, an American poet who spent most of his life working a farm, wrote this poem in praise of everyone's favorite decorative gourd in 1850. The stanza below is particularly appropriate for the dessert course:

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?

"Simple Gifts" by Joseph Brackett
A traditional Shaker hymn, popularized by Aaron Copeland's Appalachian Spring ballet, "Simple Gifts" is a timeless ode to the uncomplicated pleasures of life. You've no doubt heard the melody before, but the words are very uplifting--especially if you need a reminder that Thanksgiving is supposed to be a time of joyful fellowship.

'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free,
'Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.

"Family Reunion" by Maxine Kumin
This poem perfectly captures the conflicted feelings of a mother preparing a lavish

Thanksgiving for her adult children.
Benign and dozy from our gluttonies,
the candles down to stubs, defenses down,
love leaking out unguarded the way
juice dribbles from the fence when grounded
by grass stalks or a forgotten hoe,
how eloquent, how beautiful you seem!

"The New Colossus" by Emma Lazarus
This famous sonnet is engraved at the base of the Statue of Liberty. We also think it's a good mission statement for this year's hosts and hostesses of Thanksgiving dinner.

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

"Thanksgiving" by Edgar Albert Guest

Guest's folksy verses recall the charm of an old-fashioned Thanksgiving, the kind that only ever existed in a Norman Rockwell painting or a Hallmark movie.
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.

All of us here atGrammarly want to wish all of our Huffington Post readers a happy Thanksgiving! We're thankful for each and every one of you.


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