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Thanksgiving poems for family and friends

in Apolitical/Top Headlines by

Thanksgiving is America’s harvest festival — a time to acknowledge the help of family and friends, and a reminder of what a gift it is to be alive. It’s a day to overindulge in the here and now, even as we reflect on the past.

In other words, it’s the perfect holiday for poetry!

While a barn full of winter stock and a home overrun with family and friends does not fit with our popular conception of the poet as solitary brooder, these poems show that the occasion has provided poets — from Harriet Maxwell Converse in the 19th century to Elizabeth Alexander in the 21st — with plenty of food for thought. Whether you’re looking for a pre-meal toast, a scrap of American history, or a late night conversation starter, these poems should provide ample stuffing.


A Thanksgiving to God, for his House
By Robert Herrick

Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing
By James Weldon Johnson

The Thanksgivings
By Harriet Maxwell Converse

By Edgar Albert Guest


By Elizabeth Alexander

Family Reunion
By Maxine W. Kumin

Perhaps the World Ends Here
By Joy Harjo

By Albert Goldbarth

Thanksgiving Magic
By Rowena Bastin Bennett

By Bruce Guernsey

By Eamon Grennan


My Triumph
By John Greenleaf Whittier

Signs of the Times
By Paul Laurence Dunbar

Thanksgiving Day
By L. Maria Child

The Garden of Proserpine
By Algernon Charles Swinburne

The Pumpkin
By John Greenleaf Whittier

When the Frost is on the Punkin
By James Whitcomb Riley

By C.K. Williams

The Gift Outright
By Robert Frost

To Autumn
By John Keats

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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