America's Thanksgiving

A poem by James Whitcomb Riley

1900

Father all bountiful, in mercy bear
With this our universal voice of prayer -
The voice that needs must be
Upraised in thanks to Thee,
O Father, from Thy children everywhere.

A multitudinous voice, wherein we fain
Wouldst have Thee hear no lightest sob of pain -
No murmur of distress,
Nor moan of loneliness,
Nor drip of tears, though soft as summer rain.

And, Father, give us first to comprehend,
No ill can come from Thee; lean Thou and lend
Us clearer sight to see
Our boundless debt to Thee,
Since all Thy deeds are blessings, in the end.

And let us feel and know that, being Thine,
We are inheritors of hearts divine,
And hands endowed with skill,
And strength to work Thy will,
And fashion to fulfilment Thy design.

So, let us thank Thee, with all self aside,
Nor any lingering taint of mortal pride;
As here to Thee we dare
Uplift our faltering prayer,
Lend it some fervor of the glorified.

We thank Thee that our land is loved of Thee
The blessed home of thrift and industry,
With ever-open door
Of welcome to the poor -
Thy shielding hand o'er all abidingly.

E'en thus we thank Thee for the wrong that grew
Into a right that heroes battled to,
With brothers long estranged,
Once more as brothers ranged
Beneath the red and white and starry blue.

Ay, thanks - though tremulous the thanks expressed -
Thanks for the battle at its worst, and best -
For all the clanging fray
Whose discord dies away
Into a pastoral-song of peace and rest.

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