For the sun that shone at the dawn of spring,
For the flowers which bloom and the birds that sing,
For the verdant robe of the gray old earth,
For her coffers filled with their countless worth,
For the flocks which feed on a thousand hills,
For the rippling streams which turn the mills,
For the lowing herds in the lovely vale,
For the songs of gladness on the gale,—
From the Gulf and the Lakes to the Oceans’ banks,—
Lord God of Hosts, we give Thee thanks!

For the farmer reaping his whitened fields,
For the bounty which the rich soil yields,
For the cooling dews and refreshing rains,
For the sun which ripens the golden grains,
For the bearded wheat and the fattened swine,
For the stalléd ox and the fruitful vine,
For the tubers large and cotton white,
For the kid and the lambkin frisk and blithe,
For the swan which floats near the river-banks,—
Lord God of Hosts, we give Thee thanks!

For the pumpkin sweet and the yellow yam,
For the corn and beans and the sugared ham,
For the plum and the peach and the apple red,
For the dear old press where the wine is tread,
For the cock which crows at the breaking dawn,
And the proud old “turk” at the farmer’s barn,
For the fish which swim in the babbling brooks,
For the game which hide in the shady nooks,—
From the Gulf and the Lakes to the Oceans’ banks —
Lord God of Hosts, we give Thee thanks!

For the sturdy oaks and the stately pines,
For the lead and the coal from the deep, dark mines,
For the silver ores of a thousand fold,
For the diamond bright and the yellow gold,
For the river boat and the flying train,
For the fleecy sail of the rolling main,
For the velvet sponge and the glossy pearl,
For the flag of peace which we now unfurl—
From the Gulf and the Lakes to the Oceans’ banks—
Lord God of Hosts, we give Thee thanks!

For the lowly cot and the mansion fair,
For the peace and plenty together share,
For the Hand which guides us from above,
For Thy tender mercies, abiding love,
For the blessed home with its children gay,
For returnings of Thanksgiving Day,
For the bearing toils and the sharing cares,
We lift up our hearts in our songs and our prayers—
From the Gulf and the Lakes to the Oceans’ banks—
Lord God of Hosts, we give Thee thanks!

From The Book of American Negro Poetry (Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1922), edited by James Weldon Johnson. This poem is in the public domain.


In winter, we find her invisible
against the furrows
of cottonwood bark. Her swivel
and lean follow us until
we sit on the old polished log
we call creature. She blinks,
swells her feathers out, shakes and settles.

It’s a good day when I see an owl.
We watch until she drops—a fall
opening to swoop and glide. What is it
with lesbians and owls? Someone
asked. I’ll leave the question
there. There’s a world

the old trees make of water
and air. I like to feel the day
undress its cool oblivion, currents
moving the one mind of leaves,
shadows deeper with the breath
of owls. Just the chance she might
be there watching makes me
love—no—makes me loved.

Copyright © 2022 by Anne Haven McDonnell. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on December 21, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.

Late December grinds on down.
The sky stops, slate on slate,
scatters a cold light of snow
across a field of brittle weeds.

Each boot step cracks a stalk.
The pigments have been dragged
earthwards and clasped. The groundhog
curls among the roots curling.

Towards home I peel blossoms
of frozen mud from my pant legs
and pull off burrs that waited
for wind or the flashing red fox.

In my jacket pocket I find
a beechnut, slightly cracked
open, somehow fallen there,
and, enfolded inside of it,

a spider that unclenches
yellow in my steaming palm –
a spider that is 
the sun.

Copyright © 2004 by Ray McNiece. From Bone Orchard Conga (WordSmith Press, 4th Edition, 2004). Used with the permission of the poet.

I read a Korean poem
with the line “Today you are the youngest
you will ever be.” Today I am the oldest
I have been. Today we drink
buckwheat tea. Today I have heat
in my apartment. Today I think
about the word chada in Korean.
It means cold. It means to be filled with.
It means to kick. To wear. Today we’re worn.
Today you wear the cold. Your chilled skin.
My heart kicks on my skin. Someone said
winter has broken his windows. The heat inside
and the cold outside sent lightning across glass.
Today my heart wears you like curtains. Today
it fills with you. The window in my room
is full of leaves ready to fall. Chada, you say. It’s tea.
We drink. It is cold outside.

From A Cruelty Special to Our Species (Ecco, 2018). Copyright © 2018 by Emily Jungmin Yoon. Used with the permission of Ecco.