Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thanksgiving Week! A Poem and a Hymn

Every month, the kids and I memorize a poem for school.
I love poetry and very much want to pass along that love to them.
This month's poem is a perfect one for Thanksgiving.
Wanting to add more richness to our Thanksgiving celebration, I told the kids that we'd recite this together for our guests.
They're pretty excited about it.
So am I.
It's a beautiful poem.

A Thanksgiving
by John Kendrick Bangs 

For summer rains, and winter's sun,
For autumn breezes, crisp and sweet;
For labors doing, to be done,
And labors all complete;
For April, May and lovely June,
For bud and bird and berried vine;
For joys of morning, night and noon,
My thanks, dear Lord, are Thine!

For loving friends on every side;
For children full of joyous glee;
For all the blessed Heavens wide.
And for the sounding sea;
For mountains, valleys, forests deep;
For maple, oak and lofty pine;
For rivers on their seaward sweep,
My thanks, dear Lord, are Thine.

For light and air, for sun, and shade,
For merry laughter and for cheer;
For music and the glad parade
Of blessings through the year;
For the fruitful earth's increase,
For home and life, and love divine,
For hope, and faith, and perfect peace,
My thanks, dear Lord, are Thine.

How do I get my 7, 5 and 3 year old to agree to a public poetry recitation, you ask?
It's easier than you think.
For one thing, I didn't ask if they wanted to.
I just told them that's what we'd be doing.
But also, we recite our monthly poem with our home school group, so it is a normal activity for us.
I think my kids just expect that this is what you do with a poem.
Our group learns a poem together and at the end of the month, at one of our nature study locations, our kids gather and recite.
Some kids recite on their own, some with a partner and some with the whole group.
Even the littlest ones join in.
I am so glad for this opportunity to make poetry a real part of my children's schooling and of their life.
How would you use this poem in your Thanksgiving celebrations?

In addition to our poem, we also learn and memorize a hymn each month.
This month's hymn is a special favorite.
It was played at my wedding.
The words are incredibly beautiful.
They, too, are perfect for Thanksgiving.

For the Beauty of the Earth
Folliott S. Peirpoint

For the beauty of the earth 
For the glory of the skies, 
For the love which from our birth 
Over and around us lies.     
Refrain  Lord of all, 
to Thee we raise, 
This our hymn of grateful praise.
For the beauty of each hour, 
Of the day and of the night, 
Hill and vale, and tree and flower, 
Sun and moon, and stars of light.    
For the joy of human love, 
Brother, sister, parent, child, 
Friends on earth and friends above, 
For all gentle thoughts and mild.     
For Thyself best gift divine, 
To our race so freely given, 
For that great, great love of Thine, 
Peace on earth and joy in heaven.     
I will be printing up the words to this hymn for my guests on Thanksgiving.
We'll be singing it together.
Maybe I'm trying to introduce a little Thanksgiving caroling into the day.
It's only a week away!
I hope these two pieces help remind you, in a different way, of all we have to be thankful for.
Love from,
PS. There are lots of different versions of this being played and sung on You Tube.  If you've never heard it, go take a listen.


hannah singer said...

greta, i LOVE that hymn!
the poem is lovely, too!

hooray for thanksgiving - i'm grateful for you!

katie said...

So beautiful. I love the experience they are gaining through your schooling.

Betsi* said...

I always think of your wedding when I hear that song. It was such a precious, sweet and beautiful day. I love this hymn too.

Natalie said...

Greta I love this hymn. Thank you for the reminder. Will be following suit and playing it during thanksgiving dinner now as well.