Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE WIDOW'S THANKSGIVING, by PHOEBE CARY



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THE WIDOW'S THANKSGIVING, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Of the precious years of my life, today
Last Line: And mine eyes behold the sun.
Subject(s): Holidays; Thanksgiving; Widows & Widowers


OF the precious years of my life, today
I count another one;
And I thank thee, Lord, for the light is good,
And 't is sweet to see the sun.

To watch the seasons as they pass,
Their wondrous wealth unfold,
Till the silvery treasures of the snow
Are changed to the harvest's gold.

For kindly still does the teeming earth
Her stores of plenty yield,
Whether we come to bind the sheaves,
Or only to glean in the field.

And dwelling in such a pleasant land,
Though poor in goods and friends,
We may still be rich, if we live content
With what our Father sends.

If we feel that life is a blessed thing --
A boon to be desired;
And where not much to us is given,
Not much will be required;

And keep our natures sweet with the sense
Of fervent gratitude,
That we have been left to live in the world,
And to know that God is good!

And since there is naught of all we have,
That we have not received:
Shall we dare, though our treasures be reclaimed,
To call ourselves bereaved?

For 't is easy to walk by sight in the day;
'T is the night that tries our faith;
And what is that worth if we render thanks
For life and not for death?

Lo! I glean alone! and the children, Lord,
Thou gavest unto me,
Have one by one fled out of my arms,
And into eternity.

Aye, the last and the bravest of them died
In prison, far away;
And no man, of his sepulchre,
Knoweth the place to-day.

Yet is not mine the bitterness
Of the soul that doth repent;
If I had it now to do again,
I would bless him that he went.

There are many writ in the book of life
Whose graves are marked unknown;
For his country and his God he died,
And He will know his own!

In the ranks he fought; but he stood the first
And bravest in the lines;
And no fairer, brighter name than his
On the roll of honor shines.

And because he faltered not, nor failed
In the march, nor under fire;
His great promotion came at last,
In the call to go up higher.

Fair wives, whose homes are guarded round
By love's securities;
Mothers, who gather all your flock
At night about your knees;

Thrice happy, happy girls, who hold
The hand of your lovers fast;
Widows, who keep an only son
To be your stay to the last:

You never felt, though you give God thanks
For his blessings day by day,
That perfect peace which blesses Him
For the good He takes away;

The joy of a soul that even in pain
Beholds his love's decrees,
Who sets the solitary ones
In the midst of families.

Lord, help me still, at the midnight hour,
My lamp of faith to trim;
And so sing from my heart, at the break of day,
A glad thanksgiving hymn:

Nor doubt thy love, though my earthly joys
Were narrowed down to this one,
So long as the sweet day shines for me,
And mine eyes behold the sun.





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