Gettin' together to smile an' rejoice,
An' eatin' an' laughin' with folks of your choice;
An' kissin' the girls an' declarin' that they
Are growin' more beautiful day after day;
Chattin' an' braggin' a bit with the men,
Buildin' the old family circle again;
Livin' the wholesome an' old-fashioned cheer,
Just for awhile at the end of the year.
Greetings fly fast as we crowd through the door
And under the old roof we gather once more
Just as we did when the youngsters were small;
Mother's a little bit grayer, that's all.
Father's a little bit older, but still
Ready to romp an' to laugh with a will.
Here we are back at the table again
Tellin' our stories as women an' men.
Bowed are our heads for a moment in prayer;
Oh, but we're grateful an' glad to be there.
Home from the east land an' home from the west,
Home with the folks that are dearest an' best.
Out of the sham of the cities afar
We've come for a time to be just what we are.
Here we can talk of ourselves an' be frank,
Forgettin' position an' station an' rank.
Give me the end of the year an' its fun
When most of the plannin' an' toilin' is done;
Bring all the wanderers home to the nest,
Let me sit down with the ones I love best,
Hear the old voices still ringin' with song,
See the old faces unblemished by wrong,
See the old table with all of its chairs
An' I'll put soul in my Thanksgivin' prayers.
Edgar Albert Guest (1881 – 1959) was a British-born American poet who became known as the People's Poet. His family moved from England to Detroit, Michigan when he was ten years old and he lived there the rest of his life. He worked for the Detroit Free
Press for 64 years. He published more than twenty volumes of poetry and was thought to have written over 12,000 poems. His poems often had an inspirational and optimistic view of everyday life. Of his poems he said, "I take simple everyday things that happen to me and I figure it happens to a lot of other people and I make simple rhymes out of them. "His popularity led NBC to produce a weekly 15-minute radio program, “Guest in Your Home,” which ran from 1931 to 1942. The Joplin Globe editorialized his passing by quoting Philip Coldren, the late editorial page editor who wrote that the key to Guest’s greatness was “that among the thousands of Guest poems, ‘there has not been a single one that has promoted wickedness or meanness or anything else but kindness and gentleness and peace and hope."
MY mind to me a kingdom is;
Such perfect joy therein I find
As far exceeds all earthly blisse
That God or Nature hath assigned;
Though much I want that most would have, 5
Yet still my mind forbids to crave.
Content I live; this is my stay—
I seek no more than may suffice.
I press to bear no haughty sway;
Look, what I lack my mind supplies. 10
Lo! thus I triumph like a king,
Content with that my mind doth bring.
I see how plentie surfeits oft,
And hasty climbers soonest fall;
I see that such as sit aloft 15
Mishap doth threaten most of all.
These get with toil, and keep with fear;
Such cares my mind could never bear.
No princely pomp nor wealthy store,
No force to win the victory, 20
No wily wit to salve a sore,
No shape to win a lover’s eye—
To none of these I yield as thrall;
For why, my mind despiseth all.
Some have too much, yet still they crave; 25
I little have, yet seek no more.
They are but poor, though much they have;
And I am rich with little store.
They poor, I rich; they beg, I give;
They lack, I lend; they pine, I live. 30
I laugh not at another’s loss,
I grudge not at another’s gaine;
No worldly wave my mind can toss;
I brook that is another’s bane.
I feare no foe, nor fawn on friend; 35
I loathe not life, nor dread mine end.
I joy not in no earthly blisse;
I weigh not Crœsus’ wealth a straw;
For care, I care not what it is;
I fear not fortune’s fatal law; 40
My mind is such as may not move
For beauty bright, or force of love.
I wish but what I have at will;
I wander not to seek for more;
I like the plain, I climb no hill; 45
In greatest storms I sit on shore,
And laugh at them that toil in vain
To get what must be lost again.
I kisse not where I wish to kill;
I feign not love where most I hate; 50
I break no sleep to win my will;
I wait not at the mighty’s gate.
I scorn no poor, I fear no rich;
I feel no want, nor have too much.
The court nor cart I like nor loathe; 55
Extremes are counted worst of all;
The golden mean betwixt them both
Doth surest sit, and fears no fall;
This is my choyce; for why, I find
No wealth is like a quiet mind. 60
My wealth is health and perfect ease;
My conscience clear my chief defence;
I never seek by bribes to please,
Nor by desert to give offence.
Thus do I live, thus will I die; 65
Would all did so as well as I!
Authorship Note: — Authorship of this poem has undergone some debate. It is mostly attributed to Sir Edward Dyer, however some researchers have attributed it to Sir Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford. It was first published in modified form in 1588 in William Byrd, Psalms, Sonnets, and Songs of Sadness and Piety.
"A human being is a living constellation of contradictions, mostly opaque to itself. “Inward secret creatures,” Iris Murdoch called us in reckoning with the blind spots of our self-knowledge"... More at The Marginalian ➜
And now the sun in tinted splendor sank,
The west was all aglow with crimson light;
The bay seemed like a sheet of burnished gold,
Its waters glistened with such radiance bright.
At anchor lay the yachts with snow-white sails,
Outlined against the glowing, rose-hued sky.
No ripple stirred the waters’ calm repose
Save when a tiny craft sped lightly by.
Our boat was drifting slowly, gently round,
To rest secure till evening shadows fell;
No sound disturbed the stillness of the air,
Save the soft chiming of the vesper bell.
Yes, drifting, drifting; and I thought that life,
When nearing death, is like the sunset sky:
And death is but the slow, sure drifting in
To rest far more securely, by and by.
Then let me drift along the Bay of Time,
Till my last sun shall set in glowing light;
Let me cast anchor where no shadows fall,
Forever moored within Heaven’s harbor bright.
This poem is in the public domain.
Olivia Ward Bush-Banks - née Olivia Ward; (1869 – 1944) was an American author, poet and journalist of African-American and Montaukett Native American heritage. Ward celebrated both of her heritages in her poetry and writing. She was a regular contributor to the Colored American magazine and wrote a column for the New Rochelle, New York publication, the Westchester Record-Courier. More at Wikipedia
Look, in the early light,
Down to the infinite
Depths at the deep grass-roots;
Where the sun shoots
In golden veins, as looking through
A dear pool one sees it do;
Where campion drifts
Its bladders, iris-brinded, through the rifts
Of rising, falling seed
That the winds lightly scour—
Down to the matted earth where over
And over again crow’s-foot and clover
And pink bindweed
Dimly, steadily flower.
This poem is in the public domain.
Michael Field was a pseudonym used for the poetry and verse drama of the English authors Katherine Harris Bradley (1846 – 1914) and her niece and ward Edith Emma Cooper (1862 – 1913). As Field they wrote around 40 works together, and a long journal Works and Days. Their intention was to keep the pen-name secret, but it became public knowledge, not long after they had confided in their friend Robert Browning