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Poems About Harvest

Table of Contents

  1. Thanksgiving by Anonymous
  2. Harvest Time by John Jay Chapman
  3. The Harvest Moon by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  4. Harvest by Ellen Mackay Hutchinson Cortissoz
  5. The Corn Song by John Greenleaf Whittier
  6. The Pumpkins in the Corn by Sir Charles George Douglas Roberts
  7. The Promise of Bread by C. L. Edson
  8. When the Frost is on the Punkin by James Whitcomb Riley
  9. The Potato Harvest by Sir Charles George Douglas Roberts
  10. Color in the Wheat by Hamlin Garland
  11. Harvest by John Charles McNeill
  12. After Apple-Picking by Robert Frost
  13. The Tasseled Corn by Edna Dean Proctor
  14. After Harvest by William Stanley Braithwaite
  15. John Barleycorn by Robert Burns
  16. Singing, the Reapers Homeward Come by Anonymous
  1. The Feast-time of the Year by Dora Read Goodale
  2. Thanksgiving Time by Anonymous
  3. Come Ye Thankful People Come by Henry Alford
  4. A Harvest Song by Marianne Farningham
  5. Excerpt From "Giving Thanks" by Anonymous
  6. Threshing Time by C. L. Edson
  7. Reapers by Mathilde Blind
  8. Reaping by James B. Kenyon
  9. Harvest by James B. Kenyon
  10. Harvest by J. R. Eastwood
  11. Thanksgiving by Douglas Malloch
  12. A Thanksgiving Poem by Paul Laurence Dunbar

Harvest comes not every day.

– Amish Proverb
Amish Proverbs: Words of Wisdom from the Simple Life
  1. Thanksgiving

    by Anonymous

    The year has turned its circle,
    The seasons come and go.
    The harvest all is gathered in
    And chilly north winds blow.
    Orchards have shared their treasures,
    The fields, their yellow grain,
    So open wide the doorway—
    Thanksgiving comes again!

  2. Harvest Time

    Forever turns the winnowing fan:
    It runs with an eternal force,
    As run the planets in their course
    Behind the life of man.

    – John Jay Chapman
    Harvest Time
    by John Jay Chapman

    Behold, the harvest is at hand;
    And thick on the encircling hills
    The sheaves like an encampment stand,
    Making a martial fairy-land
    That half the landscape fills.
    The plains in colors brightly blent
    Are burnished by the standing grain
    That runs across a continent.
    In sheets of gold or silver stain
    Or red as copper from the mine,
    The oats, the barley, and the buckwheat shine.

    Autumn has pitched his royal tent,
    And set his banner in the field;
    Where blazes every ornament
    That beamed in an heraldic shield.
    He spreads his carpets from the store
    Of stuffs the richest burghers wore,
    When velvet-robed, and studded o'er
    With gems, they faced their Emperor.

    A wind is in the laughing grain
    That bends to dodge his rough caress,
    Knowing the rogue will come again
    To frolic with its loveliness.
    And in the highways drifts a stream
    Of carts, of cattle, and of men;
    While scythes in every meadow gleam,
    And Adam sweats again.

    In the young orchard forms are seen
    With throats thrown open to the breeze,
    To reap the rye that lies between;
    And sickles hang on apple-trees,
    Half hidden in the glossy leaves,
    And pails beside the reapers lie;
    While sturdy yokels toss the sheaves,
    And hats are cocked and elbows ply,
    And blackbirds rise to cloud the sky
    In swarms that chatter as they fly.

    From field to field each shady lane
    Is strown and traced with wisps of hay,
    Where gates lie open to the wain
    That creaks upon its toiling way.
    And little children, dumb with pride,
    Upon the rocking mountain ride,
    While anxious parents warn;
    And farm-boys guide the lazy team
    Till it shall stand beneath the beam
    That spans the gaping barn.

    The harvest to its cavern sinks,
    While shafts of sunlight probe the chinks
    And fumes of incense rise.
    Then, as the farmers turn the latch,
    Good-natured Autumn smiles to watch
    The triumph in their eyes.
    His gifts, from many a groaning load,
    Are heaved and packed, and wheeled and stowed
    By gnomes that hoard the prize.
    The grist of a celestial mill,
    Which man has harnessed to his will,
    In one bright torrent falls to fill
    The greedy granaries.

    Beneath that annual rain of gold
    Kingdoms arise, expand, decay;
    Philosophers their mind unfold
    And poets sing, and pass away.
    Forever turns the winnowing fan:
    It runs with an eternal force,
    As run the planets in their course
    Behind the life of man.
    Little we heed that silent power,
    Save as the gusty chaff is whirled,
    When Autumn triumphs for an hour,
    And spills his riches on the world.

  3. The Harvest Moon

    All things are symbols: the external shows
    Of Nature have their image in the mind,

    – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
    The Harvest Moon
    by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

    It is the Harvest Moon! On gilded vanes
    And roofs of villages, on woodland crests
    And their aerial neighborhoods of nests
    Deserted, on the curtained window-panes
    Of rooms where children sleep, on country lanes
    And harvest-fields, its mystic splendor rests!

    Gone are the birds that were our summer guests,
    With the last sheaves return the laboring wains!
    All things are symbols: the external shows
    Of Nature have their image in the mind,
    As flowers and fruits and falling of the leaves;
    The song-birds leave us at the summer's close,
    Only the empty nests are left behind,
    And pipings of the quail among the sheaves.

  4. Harvest

    Master, Consoler, Friend,
    Make Thou the harvest of our days
    To fall within Thy ways.

    – Ellen Mackay Hutchinson Cortissoz
    by Ellen Mackay Hutchinson Cortissoz

    Sweet, sweet, sweet,
    Is the wind’s song,
    Astir in the rippled wheat
    All day long.
    It hath the brook’s wild gayety,
    The sorrowful cry of the sea.
    Oh hush and hear!
    Sweet, sweet and clear,
    Above the locust’s whirr
    And hum of bee
    Rises that soft, pathetic harmony.

    In the meadow-grass
    The innocent white daisies blow,
    The dandelion plume doth pass
    Vaguely to and fro,—
    The unquiet spirit of a flower
    That hath too brief an hour.

    Now doth a little cloud all white,
    Or golden bright,
    Drift down the warm, blue sky;
    And now on the horizon line,
    Where dusky woodlands lie,
    A sunny mist doth shine,
    Like to a veil before a holy shrine,
    Concealing, half-revealing
    Things Divine.

    Sweet, sweet, sweet,
    Is the wind’s song,
    Astir in the rippled wheat
    All day long.
    That exquisite music calls
    The reaper everywhere—
    Life and death must share,
    The golden harvest falls.

    So doth all end,—
    Honored Philosophy,
    Science and Art,
    The bloom of the heart;—
    Master, Consoler, Friend,
    Make Thou the harvest of our days
    To fall within Thy ways.

  5. The Corn Song

    A Finished Study for 'Reaping'
    by John Linnell
    by John Greenleaf Whittier

    Heap high the farmer’s wintry hoard!
    Heap high the golden corn!
    No richer gift has Autumn poured
    From out her lavish horn!

    Let other lands, exulting, glean
    The apple from the pine,
    The orange from its glossy green,
    The cluster from the vine;

    We better love the hardy gift
    Our rugged vales bestow,
    To cheer us when the storm shall drift
    Our harvest-fields with snow.

    Through vales of grass and meads of flowers
    Our ploughs their furrows made,
    While on the hills the sun and showers
    Of changeful April played.

    We dropped the seed o’er hill and plain
    Beneath the sun of May,
    And frightened from our sprouting grain
    The robber crows away.

    All through the long, bright days of June
    Its leaves grew green and fair,
    And waved in hot midsummer’s noon
    Its soft and yellow hair.

    And now, with autumn’s moonlit eves,
    Its harvest-time has come,
    We pluck away the frosted leaves,
    And bear the treasure home.

    There, richer than the fabled gift
    Apollo showered of old,
    Fair hands the broken grain shall sift,
    And knead its meal of gold.

    Let vapid idlers loll in silk
    Around their costly board;
    Give us the bowl of samp and milk,
    By homespun beauty poured!

    Where’er the wide old kitchen hearth
    Sends up its smoky curls,
    Who will not thank the kindly earth
    And bless our farmer girls?

    Then shame on all the proud and vain,
    Whose folly laughs to scorn
    The blessing of our hardy grain,
    Our wealth of golden corn!

    Let earth withhold her goodly root,
    Let mildew blight the rye,
    Give to the worm the orchard’s fruit,
    The wheat-field to the fly:

    But let the good old crop adorn
    The hills our fathers trod;
    Still let us, for His golden corn,
    Send up our thanks to God!

  6. The Pumpkins in the Corn

    The hilltop fence shines saffron o'er the still
    Unbending ranks of bunched and bleaching corn,
    And every pallid stalk is crisp with morn,

    – Sir Charles George Douglas Roberts
    The Pumpkins in the Corn
    by Sir Charles George Douglas Roberts

    Amber and blue, the smoke behind the hill,
    Where in the glow fades out the morning star,
    Curtains the autumn cornfield, sloped afar,
    And strikes an acrid savour on the chill.
    The hilltop fence shines saffron o'er the still
    Unbending ranks of bunched and bleaching corn,
    And every pallid stalk is crisp with morn,
    Crisp with the silver autumn morns distil.

    Purple the narrowing alleys stretched between
    The spectral shocks, a purple harsh and cold,
    But spotted, where the gadding pumpkins run,
    With bursts of blaze that startle the serene
    Like sudden voices,—globes of orange bold,
    Elate to mimic the unrisen sun.

  7. The Promise of Bread

    by C. L. Edson

    Out on the frozen uplands, underneath the snow and sleet,
    In the bosom of the plowland sleeps the Promise of the Wheat;
    With the ice for head-and-footstone, and a snowy shroud outspread
    In the frost-locked tomb of winter sleeps the Miracle of Bread.
    With its hundred thousand reapers and its hundred thousand men,
    And the click of guard and sickle and the flails that turn again, And drover's shout, and snap of whips and creak of horses' tugs,
    And a thin red line o' gingham girls that carry water jugs;
    And yellow stalks and dagger beards that stab thro' cotton clothes,
    And farmer boys a-shocking wheat in long and crooked rows,
    And dust-veiled men on mountain stacks, whose pitchforks flash and gleam;
    And threshing engines shrieking songs in syllables of steam,
    And elevators painted red that lift their giant arms
    And beckon to the Harvest God above the brooding farms,
    And loaded trains that hasten forth, a hungry world to fill—
    All sleeping just beneath the snow, out yonder on the hill.

  8. When the Frost is on the Punkin

    by James Whitcomb Riley

    When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock,
    And you hear the kyouck and gobble of the struttin’ turkey-cock,
    And the clackin’ of the guineys, and the cluckin’ of the hens,
    And the rooster’s hallylooyer as he tiptoes on the fence;
    O, it’s then’s the times a feller is a-feelin’ at his best,
    With the risin’ sun to greet him from a night of peaceful rest,
    As he leaves the house, bareheaded, and goes out to feed the stock,
    When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock.

    They’s something kindo’ harty-like about the atmusfere
    When the heat of summer’s over and the coolin’ fall is here—
    Of course we miss the flowers, and the blossums on the trees,
    And the mumble of the hummin’-birds and buzzin’ of the bees;
    But the air’s so appetizin’; and the landscape through the haze
    Of a crisp and sunny morning of the airly autumn days
    Is a pictur’ that no painter has the colorin’ to mock—
    When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock.

    The husky, rusty russel of the tossels of the corn,
    And the raspin’ of the tangled leaves, as golden as the morn;
    The stubble in the furries—kindo’ lonesome-like, but still
    A-preachin’ sermuns to us of the barns they growed to fill;
    The strawstack in the medder, and the reaper in the shed;
    The hosses in theyr stalls below—the clover over-head!—
    O, it sets my hart a-clickin’ like the tickin’ of a clock,
    When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock!

    Then your apples all is gethered, and the ones a feller keeps
    Is poured around the celler-floor in red and yeller heaps;
    And your cider-makin’ ’s over, and your wimmern-folks is through
    With their mince and apple-butter, and theyr souse and saussage, too! ...
    I don’t know how to tell it—but ef sich a thing could be
    As the Angels wantin’ boardin’, and they’d call around on me—
    I’d want to ’commodate ’em—all the whole-indurin’ flock—
    When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock!

  9. The Potato Harvest

    by Sir Charles George Douglas Roberts

    A high bare field, brown from the plough, and borne
    Aslant from sunset; amber wastes of sky
    Washing the ridge; a clamour of crows that fly
    In from the wide flats where the spent tides mourn
    To yon their rocking roosts in pines wind-torn;
    A line of grey snake-fence, that zigzags by
    A pond and cattle; from the homestead nigh
    The long deep summonings of the supper horn.

    Black on the ridge, against that lonely flush,
    A cart, and stoop-necked oxen; ranged beside
    Some barrels; and the day-worn harvest-folk,
    Here emptying their baskets, jar the hush
    With hollow thunders. Down the dusk hillside
    Lumbers the wain; and day fades out like smoke.

  10. Color in the Wheat

    by Hamlin Garland

    Like liquid gold the wheat field lies,
    A marvel of yellow and russet and green,
    That ripples and runs, that floats and flies,
    With the subtle shadows, the change, the sheen,
    That play in the golden hair of a girl,—
    A ripple of amber—a flare
    Of light sweeping after—a curl
    In the hollows like swirling feet
    Of fairy waltzers, the colors run
    To the western sun
    Through the deeps of the ripening wheat.

    Broad as the fleckless, soaring sky,
    Mysterious, fair as the moon-led sea,
    The vast plain flames on the dazzled eye
    Under the fierce sun's alchemy.
    The slow hawk stoops
    To his prey in the deeps;
    The sunflower droops
    To the lazy wave; the wind sleeps—
    Then swirling in dazzling links and loops,
    A riot of shadow and shine,
    A glory of olive and amber and wine,
    To the westering sun the colors run
    Through the deeps of the ripening wheat.

    O glorious land! My western land,
    Outspread beneath the setting sun!
    Once more amid your swells, I stand,
    And cross your sod-lands dry and dun.
    I hear the jocund calls of men
    Who sweep amid the ripened grain
    With swift, stern reapers; once again
    The evening splendor floods the plain,
    The crickets' chime
    Makes pauseless rhyme,
    And toward the sun,
    The colors run
    Before the wind's feet
    In the wheat!

  11. Harvest

    The smell of the Earth, where the night pours to her
    Its dewy libation, is sweeter than myrrh,
    And an incense to Toil is the smell of the loam
    On the last load home.

    – John Charles McNeill
    by John Charles McNeill

    Cows in the stall and sheep in the fold;
    Clouds in the west, deep crimson and gold;
    A heron's far flight to a roost somewhere;
    The twitter of killdees keen in the air;
    The noise of a wagon that jolts through the gloam
    On the last load home.

    There are lights in the windows; a blue spire of smoke
    Climbs from the grange grove of elm and oak.
    The smell of the Earth, where the night pours to her
    Its dewy libation, is sweeter than myrrh,
    And an incense to Toil is the smell of the loam
    On the last load home.

  12. After Apple-Picking

    by Robert Frost

    My long two-pointed ladder's sticking through a tree
    Toward heaven still,
    And there's a barrel that I didn't fill
    Beside it, and there may be two or three
    Apples I didn't pick upon some bough.
    But I am done with apple-picking now.
    Essence of winter sleep is on the night,
    The scent of apples: I am drowsing off.
    I cannot rub the strangeness from my sight
    I got from looking through a pane of glass
    I skimmed this morning from the drinking trough
    And held against the world of hoary grass.
    It melted, and I let it fall and break.
    But I was well

    Upon my way to sleep before it fell,
    And I could tell
    What form my dreaming was about to take.
    Magnified apples appear and disappear,
    Stem end and blossom end,
    And every fleck of russet showing dear.
    My instep arch not only keeps the ache,
    It keeps the pressure of a ladder-round.
    I feel the ladder sway as the boughs bend.
    And I keep hearing from the cellar bin
    The rumbling sound
    Of load on load of apples coming in.
    For I have had too much
    Of apple-picking: I am overtired
    Of the great harvest I myself desired.
    There were ten thousand thousand fruit to touch,
    Cherish in hand, lift down, and not let fall.
    For all
    That struck the earth,
    No matter if not bruised or spiked with stubble,
    Went surely to the cider-apple heap
    As of no worth.
    One can see what will trouble
    This sleep of mine, whatever sleep it is.
    Were he not gone,
    The woodchuck could say whether it's like his
    Long sleep, as I describe its coming on,
    Or just some human sleep.

  13. The Tasseled Corn

    by Edna Dean Proctor

    The rose may bloom for England,
    The lily for France unfold;
    Ireland may honor the shamrock
    Scotland her thistle bold;
    But the shield of the great republic,
    The glory of the West,
    Shall bear a stalk of the tasseled corn,
    Of all our wealth the best.

  14. After Harvest

    by William Stanley Braithwaite

    Faint is the speech of the tired heart
    To the call of dreams replying,
    When hope wends home across the fields
    Where the rose o' the year is dying.

    O weary head and heart and hands
    Look up where the sun is dying —
    Love leads you home across the fields
    To the call of dreams replying.

  15. John Barleycorn

    by Robert Burns

    There was three kings into the east,
    Three kings both great and high,
    And they hae sworn a solemn oath
    John Barleycorn should die.

    They took a plough and plough'd him down,
    Put clods upon his head,
    And they hae sworn a solemn oath
    John Barleycorn was dead.

    But the cheerful Spring came kindly on,
    And show'rs began to fall;
    John Barleycorn got up again,
    And sore surpris'd them all.

    The sultry suns of Summer came,
    And he grew thick and strong;
    His head weel arm'd wi' pointed spears,
    That no one should him wrong.

    The sober Autumn enter'd mild,
    When he grew wan and pale;
    His bending joints and drooping head
    Show'd he began to fail.

    His colour sicken'd more and more,
    He faded into age;
    And then his enemies began
    To show their deadly rage.

    They've taen a weapon, long and sharp,
    And cut him by the knee;
    Then tied him fast upon a cart,
    Like a rogue for forgerie.

    They laid him down upon his back,
    And cudgell'd him full sore;
    They hung him up before the storm,
    And turned him o'er and o'er.

    They filled up a darksome pit
    With water to the brim;
    They heaved in John Barleycorn,
    There let him sink or swim.

    They laid him out upon the floor,
    To work him farther woe;
    And still, as signs of life appear'd,
    They toss'd him to and fro.

    They wasted, o'er a scorching flame,
    The marrow of his bones;
    But a miller us'd him worst of all,
    For he crush'd him between two stones.

    And they hae taen his very heart's blood,
    And drank it round and round;
    And still the more and more they drank,
    Their joy did more abound.

    John Barleycorn was a hero bold,
    Of noble enterprise;
    For if you do but taste his blood,
    'Twill make your courage rise

    'Twill make a man forget his woe;
    'Twill heighten all his joy;
    'Twill make the widow's heart to sing,
    Tho' the tear were in her eye.

    Then let us toast John Barleycorn,
    Each man a glass in hand;
    And may his great posterity
    Ne'er fail in old Scotland!

  16. Singing, the Reapers Homeward Come

    by Anonymous

    Singing, the reapers homeward come, Io! Io!
    Merrily singing the harvest home, Io! Io!
    Along the field, along the road,
    Where autumn is scattering leaves abroad,
    Homeward cometh the ripe last load, Io! Io!

    Singers are filling the twilight dim
    With cheerful song, Io! Io!
    The spirit of song ascends to Him
    Who causeth the corn to grow.
    He freely sent the gentle rain,
    The summer sun glorified hill and plain,
    To golden perfection brought the grain, Io! Io!

    Silently, nightly, fell the dew,
    Gently the rain, Io! Io!
    But who can tell how the green corn grew,
    Or who beheld it grow?
    Oh! God the good, in sun and rain,
    He looked on the flourishing fields and grain,
    Till they all appeared on hill and plain
    Like living gold, Io! Io!

  17. The Feast-time of the Year

    by Dora Read Goodale

    This is the feast-time of the year,
    When plenty pours her wine of cheer,
    And even humble boards may spare
    To poorer poor a kindly share.
    While bursting barns and granaries know
    A richer, fuller overflow.
    And they who dwell in golden ease
    Blest without toil, yet toil to please.

  18. Thanksgiving Time

    by Anonymous

    When all the leaves are off the boughs,
    And nuts and apples gathered in,
    And cornstalks waiting for the cows,
    And pumpkins safe in barn and bin,
    Then Mother says, "My children dear,
    The fields are brown, and autumn flies;
    Thanksgiving Day is very near,
    And we must make thanksgiving pies!"

  19. Come Ye Thankful People Come

    by Henry Alford

    Come ye thankful people come,
    Raise the song of harvest home!
    All is safely gathered in,
    Ere the winter storms begin;
    God our Maker, doth provide
    For our wants to be supplied:
    Come to God's own temple, come,
    Raise the song of harvest home.

    All the world is God's own field
    Fruit unto his praise to yield;
    Wheat and tares together sown
    Unto joy or sorrow grown;
    First the blade, and then the ear,
    Then the full corn shall appear;
    Lord of the harvest! grant that we
    Wholesome grain and pure may be.

    For the Lord our God shall come,
    And shall take his harvest home;
    From his field shall in that day
    All offenses purge away,
    Give his angels charge at last
    In the fire the tares to cast;
    But the fruitful ears to store
    In his garner evermore.

    Even so, Lord, quickly come,
    Bring thy final harvest home;
    Gather thou thy people in,
    Free from sorrow, free from sin,
    There, forever purified,
    in thy presence to abide;
    Come, with all thine angels, come,
    Raise the glorious harvest home.

  20. A Harvest Song

    And Death shall be the reaper then,
    Among the standing fields of men,

    – Marianne Farningham
    A Harvest Song
    by Marianne Farningham

    The corn waves on a thousand hills,
    Reflected in the sparkling rills;
    The earth has had its meed of rain,
    The sun has spread its warmth again.
    Put in the sickle, reap the corn;
    It is the pleasant harvest morn.

    Sing out a song of trust and love,
    Sing praises to the God above,—
    A new glad song of gratitude;
    His work is ever kind and good.
    Put in the sickle, reap the corn;
    It is the pleasant harvest morn.

    But other corn is ripening still
    Than that which waves on breezy hill;
    Another sun shines on to-day,
    And soon the husbandman will say,
    Put in the sickle, reap the corn;
    'Tis the eternal harvest morn.

    And Death shall be the reaper then,
    Among the standing fields of men,
    And many a one with glad surprise
    Be gathered to the smiling skies.
    Put in the sickle, reap the corn;
    For soon 'twill be the harvest morn.

    Oh, to be ready for that day,
    With its magnificent array!
    Oh, to be folly ripe, that we
    Among the garnered grains may be!
    Put in the sickle, reap the corn;
    It is the solemn harvest morn.

  21. Harvest

    by Ellen P. Allerton

    Green are the cornfields, the wheat is golden;
    Fresh are the footprints of radiant June;
    Fair is the Earth, with all of its olden
    Noontide splendor, its midnight moon.

    Night comes slowly, with soft hues blended,
    Purple of twilight, and cloud-wrack dun;
    Sounds and sights of the day are ended,
    Clatter of reaper and glare of sun.

    Shocks of grain in the night show dimly,
    Dotting the swells of the prairie's breast;
    Down where yon headlight goes gliding grimly,
    Courses the steed that knows no rest.

    Whistle of engine, and jar of thunder,
    Startle the silence and then are gone;
    Still as before, is the valley yonder;
    Softly as ever the stream flows on.

    I think, as I sit here, idly dreaming—
    The wind on my temples, the dew on my hair,
    And the radiant moonbeams o'er me streaming—
    Of another summer, as sweet and fair.

    Then, as now, stood close together
    Clustering sheaves on fields new shorn;
    Soft, sweet winds of the summer weather
    Stole through the ranks of dark green corn.

    I think of a night—the moon shone brightly;
    I stood bare-browed at the garden gate—
    I think of a hand on my head laid lightly,
    And a voice—to me 'twas the voice of fate.


    Life's sweet summer has bloomed and faded;
    Sheaves have followed the red June rose;
    Flecks of the frost in my locks are braided;
    Wait I now for the winter snows.

    Yet, oh, yet, while life shall linger—
    Let its tides swell high, or ebb and fall—
    Never shall ruthless, defacing finger
    Touch that picture on memory's wall.

  22. Excerpt From "Giving Thanks"

    by Anonymous

    For the hay and the corn and the wheat that is reaped,
    For the labor well done, and the barns that are heaped,
    For the sun and the dew and the sweet honeycomb,
    For the rose and the song and the harvest brought home —
    Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving!

  23. Threshing Time

    by C. L. Edson

    There's dew on the stubble and fog in the air,
    And a red eye peeps over the hill,
    And a white flag of steam, flaring up with a scream,
    Has awakened the dull, drowsing doves from their dream
    On the aged, gray granary sill.
    And through dew on the grasses and fog in the air,
    The throng of the threshers is gathering there.
    With toiling and tugging, and lifting and lugging,
    They belt the steam engine that's wheezing and chugging—
    And pitchforks are gleaming and laborers laugh,
    Preparing to hurry the wheat from the chaff.

    The smoke and the vapor float over the trees,
    And a stamping horse rattles a chain;
    And men with red handkerchiefs looped at their throats
    Are climbing the mountains of barley and oats,
    The beautiful Alps of the grain.
    The smoke and the vapor floats over the trees,
    And the sun now has routed the fog on the breeze,
    While creaking and turning and slapping and churning,
    The belted red thresher has lisped out its yearning—
    Has mumbled its hunger in mournfulest note,
    And the first sheaf is ground in its ravenous throat.

    "Look out, fellers. Let 'er go!
    Pitch them first few bundles slow.
    Hold on son, don't gash my hands
    When you're cuttin' off them bands.
    Wheat's a-spilling. Hey, you Jack!
    Run that cussed wagon back!
    Grab a wheel, Bill, help him there.
    We ain't got no wheat to spare.
    Wheat's too high now, I'll be bound,
    To thresh and throw it on the ground.
    Belts off now! And I just said
    You boys would get her over-fed.
    You mustn't try to rush her through;
    The straw's still tough and damp with dew.
    When the sun gets two hours high
    You will find it's plenty dry.
    All right, let 'er go again;
    Now we're threshin' out the grain.
    See how plump them berries is.
    That's the stuff that does the biz.
    That there wheat's from college seed
    Of selected Turkey breed;
    The land was fall plowed just as soon—
    All right, boy, she s blowed for noon.
    Ease her down and hold her steady,
    Women folks says grub is ready."

    Now the thirsty sun swings lower on his torrid path to earth,
    And the yellow straw is piling toward the sky.
    Say, a feller learns at threshin what a drink of water's worth,
    For it tastes as sweet as cider when you're dry.

    At last the sun is setting, just a crimson ball of fire,
    And a coolness all the atmosphere pervades;
    The stalwart feeder's dusty arms at last begin to tire,
    And the last sheaf passes downward through the blades.

    Now the whistle's long drawn wailing is a song of seraphim,
    And the stars light up in heaven's purple deep;
    And the smoking and the joking, how it rests the weary limb
    Ere bedtime ushers in the perfect sleep.

    The day is over,
    The world is fed.
    And the farmer sleeps
    On his feather bed.

  24. Reapers

    by Mathilde Blind

    Sun-tanned men and women, toiling there together;
    Seven I count in all, in yon field of wheat,
    Where the rich ripe ears in the harvest weather
    Glow an orange gold through the sweltering heat.

    Busy life is still, sunk in brooding leisure:
    Birds have hushed their singing in the hushed tree-tops;
    Not a single cloud mars the flawless azure;
    Not a shadow moves o'er the moveless crops;

    In the glassy shallows, that no breath is creasing,
    Chestnut-coloured cows in the rushes dank
    Stand like cows of bronze, save when they flick the teasing
    Flies with switch of tail from each quivering flank.

    Nature takes a rest—even her bees are sleeping,
    And the silent wood seems a church that's shut;
    But these human creatures cease not from their reaping
    While the corn stands high, waiting to be cut.

  25. Reaping

    by James B. Kenyon

    Along the east strange glories burn,
    And kindling lights leap high and higher,
    As morning from her azure urn
    Pours forth her golden fire.

    From rush and reed, from bush and brake,
    Float countless jeweled gossamers,
    That glance and dazzle as they shake
    In every breeze that stirs.

    A bird, upspringing from the grain,
    Flutes loud and clear his raptured note,
    That mingles with as blithe a strain
    As e'er thrilled human throat.

    Amid the tasseled ranks of corn
    She stands breast-high; her arms are bare;
    And round her warm brown neck the morn
    Gleams on her lustrous hair.

    The sickle flashes in her hand;
    The dew laves both her naked feet;
    She reaps and sings, and through the land
    She sends her carols sweet.

    The wind breathes softly on her brow;
    To touch her lips tall blossoms seek;
    And as the stricken columns bow,
    They kiss her glowing cheek.

  26. Harvest

    by James B. Kenyon

    The hills are steeped in slumberous haze;
    The wind is breathing soft and low;
    On tranquil slopes the cattle graze;
    Through twinkling light the waters flow.
    About the meadows, smoothly shorn,
    The cricket winds his cheery horn,
    And o'er the calm expanse of sky
    The filmy clouds drift lazily.
    Across the smiling valley—hark!
    How steals the echo, sweet and long,
    Of those who sing from morn till dark
    The happy harvest song.

    The mossy barns, with heaped floors,
    Amid the peaceful landscape lie;
    The doves wheel through the open doors;
    About the eaves the swallows fly.
    Now slowly rolls the creaking wain
    Up from the yellow fields of grain,
    Where swart-armed reapers gayly sing,
    And sturdy sickles glance and ring.
    O liberal earth! O fruitful days!
    Each wind that stirs the rustling leaves
    Bears round the world the grateful praise
    Of those who bind the sheaves.

  27. Harvest

    by J. R. Eastwood

    Last night we saw the sunlight fall
    Beyond the gate and old stone wall,
    And brighten on the stocks of wheat,
    Ripe after days of brooding heat;
    And in the lane we lingered long,
    Then homeward turned, a sleepy throng.

    Yet glad to hail the joyful day,
    We rose while still the dawn was grey,
    And roused the house, a merry band,
    The happiest children in the land;
    And all were dressed, and breakfast done,
    Before the day had well begun.

    The sun looked out, and quickly dried
    The gleaming dew, and glorified
    The broad array of clustered sheaves,
    And pierced the lane's green roof of leaves,
    And shone in strength, as one and all
    Trooped to the gate and moss-grown wall.

    And mother came, with Margery
    Our eldest sister, pleased to see
    The busy harvesters and hear
    Our cries of triumph shrill and clear,
    As heavy waggons loaded high
    With rustling sheaves came rumbling by.

    Late in the golden afternoon,
    Yet long before the rising moon,
    The last great waggon-load was piled,
    And, lovely still, the sunlight smiled
    Above the toilers resting there,
    And those broad acres reaped and bare.

  28. Thanksgiving

    by Douglas Malloch

    When sheaves are stacked in bounteous heaps
    On summer's fertile plain,
    When he who gleaned the treasure sleeps
    And dreams of garnered grain,
    The air grows warm, the night grows still—
    A memory of June—
    And slowly o'er the distant hill
    Ascends the harvest moon.

    It bathes the sheaves in silver floods
    Of light of heavenly birth,
    It lights anew the fields and woods,
    It glorifies the earth.
    Forgotten now the winter's snow,
    The summer's glaring sun.
    And heaven above and world below
    Are mellowed into one.

    So, when the days of toil are o'er
    And harvest days are here,
    Thanksgiving comes with bounteous store—
    The moonrise of the year.
    Its rays reveal the blessings sent
    To cheer our dreary ways,
    And heartaches old and discontent
    Are mellowed into praise.

  29. A Thanksgiving Poem

    by Paul Laurence Dunbar

    The sun hath shed its kindly light,
    Our harvesting is gladly o’er
    Our fields have felt no killing blight,
    Our bins are filled with goodly store.

    From pestilence, fire, flood, and sword
    We have been spared by thy decree,
    And now with humble hearts, O Lord,
    We come to pay our thanks to thee.

    We feel that had our merits been
    The measure of thy gifts to us,
    We erring children, born of sin,
    Might not now be rejoicing thus.

    No deed of our hath brought us grace;
    When thou were nigh our sight was dull,
    We hid in trembling from thy face,
    But thou, O God, wert merciful.

    Thy mighty hand o’er all the land
    Hath still been open to bestow
    Those blessings which our wants demand
    From heaven, whence all blessings flow.

    Thou hast, with ever watchful eye,
    Looked down on us with holy care,
    And from thy storehouse in the sky
    Hast scattered plenty everywhere.

    Then lift we up our songs of praise
    To thee, O Father, good and kind;
    To thee we consecrate our days;
    Be thine the temple of each mind.

    With incense sweet our thanks ascend;
    Before thy works our powers pall;
    Though we should strive years without end,
    We could not thank thee for them all.

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