Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Pumpkin

John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892)

. . . Ah! On Thanksgiving day, when from East and from West,
From North and from South come the pilgrim and guest,
When the gray-haired New Englander sees round his board
The old broken links of affection restored,
When the care-wearied man seeks his mother once more.
And the worn matron smiles where the girl smiled before,
What moistens the lip and what brightens the eye?
What calls back the past, like the rich pumpkin pie?

Oh, fruit loved of boyhood! The days recalling,
When wood-grapes were purpling and brown nuts were falling!
When wild, ugly faces were carved into its skin,
Glaring out through the dark with a candle within!
When we laughed round the corn-heap, with hearts all in tune,
Our chair a broad pumpkin, our lantern the moon,
Telling tales of the fairy who travelled like steam,
In a pumpkin-shell coach, with two rats for her team!

The thanks for they present! None sweeter or better
E're smoked from the oven or circles in platter!
Fairer hands never wrought at a pastry more fine,
Brighter eyes never watched o're its baking, than thine!
And the prayer, which my mouth is too full to express,
Swells my heart that thy shadow may never be less,
That the days of thy lot may be lengthened below,
And the fame of thy worth like a pumpkin-vine grow,
And thy life be as sweet, and its last sunset sky
Golden-tinted and fair as thy own pumpkin pie!

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