Poems of Gratitude

Poems of Gratitude

by Emily Fragos (Editor)


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Poems of Gratitude is a unique anthology of poetry from around the world and through the ages celebrating thanksgiving in its many secular and spiritual forms.

For centuries, poets in all cultures have offered eloquent thanks and praise for the people and things of this world. The voices collected here range from Sappho, Horace, and Rumi to Shakespeare and Milton, from Wordsworth, Rilke, Yeats, Rossetti, and Dickinson to Czesław Miłosz, Langston Hughes, Yehuda Amichai, Anne Sexton, W. S. Merwin, Maya Angelou, and many more. Such beloved favorites as Gerard Manley Hopkins’s “Pied Beauty,” Robert Frost’s “Nothing Gold Can Stay,” Constantine Cavafy’s “Ithaka,” and Adam Zagajewski’s “Try to Praise the Mutilated World,” mingle with classics from China and Japan, and with traditional Navajo, Aztec, Inuit, and Iroquois poems. Devotional lyrics drawn from the major religious traditions of the world find a place here alongside poetic tributes to autumn and the harvest season that draw attention to nature’s bounty and poignant beauty as winter approaches. The result is a splendidly varied literary feast that honors and affirms the joy in our lives while acknowledging the sorrows and losses that give that joy its keenness.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781101907900
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/12/2017
Series: Everyman's Library Pocket Poets Series
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 569,628
Product dimensions: 4.41(w) x 6.49(h) x 0.71(d)

About the Author

Emily Fragos is an award-winning poet and editor of the Everyman’s Library Pocket Poets anthologies The Great Cat, The Dance, Music's Spell, Art and Artists, and Letters by Emily Dickinson. She lives in New York City.

Read an Excerpt

Foreword by Emily Fragos

Poets have for centuries offered thanks, praise, loving commemoration, devotion, and prayer for the people and the things of this world. Gratitude is a cherishing of what is, contrasted with what has been or could be. It is both an emotion and a practice, and it necessarily includes keen awareness of the sorrow and pain that give pleasure its value. The poems collected here express enormous joy in celebrating the beauties and relationships of our lives, but homage is also movingly paid to what is lost, to what is hurt, to what is hard to fathom and accept.

Poems of Gratitude is organized in nine chapters with some unavoidable overlapping: Giving Thanks, For Life, For Family, For Love, For Friendship, For Health, For Nature, Reverence, and Thanksgiving. The final section contains several perspectives on the American and Canadian holiday of Thanksgiving, but it also features more general tributes to autumn and the harvest, with poems that revel in nature’s bounty and poignant beauty as winter approaches. The concluding poem is one of the most beautiful in the English language: John Keats’s “Ode to Autumn,” where even “the small gnats mourn/Among the river sallows” at summer’s end.

My hope is that these honest and heartfelt poems from authors ancient and modern, urban and rural, and from around the world, will deepen your own experience of gratitude. You will no doubt find many of your favorite works herein, but I hope that you will discover many new favorites, too.

May we all follow Mary Oliver’s wondrous words in “The Wild Geese” as we heed the “harsh and exciting” sounds of our world and enter fully, peacefully, and compassionately into “the family of things.

Table of Contents

Edward Hirsch, “Wild Gratitude”
Jalal al-Din Rumi, “Today, like every other day, we wake up empty”
James Wright, “A Blessing”
William Butler Yeats, “Gratitude to the Unknown Instructors”
W. S. Merwin, “Thanks”
Robert Burns, “The Selkirk Grace”
Natasha Trethewey, “Invocation, 1926”
Yusef Komunyakaa, “Thanks”
Abraham Lincoln, “Letter to Mrs. Bixby”
Henry David Thoreau, “I’m thankful that my life doth not deceive”   
e. e. cummings, from Xaipe  
George Herbert, “Gratefulnesse”
Robert Browning, from Pippa Passes
Mark Strand, from “Night Pieces”
Lisel Mueller, “Late Hours”
Raymond Carver, “At Least”
Anne Sexton, “Welcome Morning”
Charles Reznikoff, “Te Deum”
Mary Szybist, “Here, There Are Blueberries”
Elizabeth Barrett Browning, from Sonnets from the Portuguese, XLI (#41)
Herman Melville, “Hearts-of-Gold”
Zbigniew Herbert, “Prayer of the Traveler Mr. Cogito”
Walt Whitman, “Thanks in Old Age”
Inuit, Traditional, “Utitia’q’s  Song”  
Mary Oliver, “The Summer Day”
Anna Swir, “Thank You, My Fate”
W. S. Merwin, “For the Anniversary of My Death”
Czeslaw Milosz, “Gift”  
William Carlos Williams, “Pastoral”
Eskimo, Traditional, “Into my head rose”
Elizabeth Alexander, “Praise Song for the Day”
Edna St. Vincent Millay, “God’s World”
William Blake, “Eternity”
Marilyn Nelson, “Abba Jacob and Miracles”  
Constantine  P. Cavafy, “Ithaka”
Wallace Stevens, “Tea at the Palaz of Hoon”
Thomas Traherne, “The Salutation”
Derek Walcott, “Love after Love”
Raymond Carver, “Late Fragment” 
Anna Kamienska, “At the Border of Paradise” 
Theodore Roethke, “The Waking”   
Walt Whitman, “O Me! O Life!”
Kobayashi Issa, “Three Haiku”  
Yehuda Amichai, from Autumn, Love, Commercials
Adrienne Rich, “Tattered Kaddish”  
Adam Zagajewski, “Try to Praise the Mutilated World”
Dorianne Laux, “Antilamentation”
Samuel Taylor Coleridge, “A Child’s Evening Prayer”
W. S. Merwin, “Rain Light”
Dan Pagis, “Ein Leben”
Anne Bradstreet, “To My Dear and Loving Husband”
William Cavendish, “Fulfillment”
Edgar Allan Poe, “To My Mother”
Robert Herrick, “To His Dying Brother, Master William Herrick”
Robert Hayden, “Those Winter Sundays”
Thomas Lux, “A Little Tooth”
Edward Hirsch, “Special Orders”
Charles Wright, “Like the New Moon, My Mother Drifts Through the Sky”
W. S. Merwin, “To My Aunt Margie”
Lucille Clifton, “Daughters”
Ted Kooser, “Father”
Wislawa Szymborska, “In Praise of My Sister”
Edward Hirsch, from Gabriel
Margaret Walker, “Lineage”
Ted Kooser, “Mother”
Nikki Giovanni, “Because”
John Milton, from Paradise Lost
Paul Laurence Dunbar, “Invitation to Love”
Robert Herrick, “Love Lightly Pleased”
Constantine  P. Cavafy, “The Afternoon Sun”
Edgar Allan Poe, “A Dream Within a Dream”
William Shakespeare, from The Winter’s Tale
Sappho, “Fragment 105(a)”
John Clare, “First Love”
Thomas Campion, “Rose-Cheeked Laura”
Elizabeth Barrett Browning, from Sonnets from the Portuguese XLIII ( #43)
Algernon Charles Swinburne, “The Oblation”
Christina Rossetti, “A Birthday”
Edna St. Vincent Millay, “Recuerdo”
Thomas Heywood, “Pack, clouds away, and welcome day”
Robert Burns, “A Red, Red Rose”
William Shakesepare, “Sonnet 130”
James Tate, “The Blue Booby”    
Robert Herrick, “Upon Julia’s Clothes”
George Gordon, Lord Byron, L’Amitié est l’Amour sans ailes”
Rainer Maria Rilke, “O My Friends”
William Wordsworth, “Travelling”
Emily Brontë, “Love and Friendship”
Algernon Charles Swinburne, from “To a Cat”
Aztec, Traditional, “Friendship”
Horace, “Ode I.36”
Henry Timrod, “Sonnet: I Thank You”
Ben Jonson, “Inviting a Friend to Supper”
Robert Herrick, “Meat Without Mirth”
Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Forbearance”
William Shakespeare, “Sonnet 30”
Dinah Maria Craik, “Friendship”    
Om-Ui-Gil, “Sitting at Night”
William Wordsworth, “Rest and Be Thankful”
Charles Lamb, “The Old Familiar Faces”
Primo Levi, “To My Friends”
Po Chu-I, “Being Visited by a Friend During Illness”  
Edward Hirsch, “Recovery”
Franz Wright, “One Heart”
Jane Kenyon, “Otherwise”
Czeslaw Milosz, “A Mistake”  
John Milton, “On His Blindness”
Gerard Manley Hopkins, “My own heart let me more have pity on”
Nicholas Christopher, “After a Long Illness”
Emily Fragos, “After Durer”
Jane Hirshfield, “Spell to Be Said After Illness”
Gerard Manley Hopkins, “Pied Beauty”
William Wordsworth, “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud”
John Dryden, “Of Many Worlds in This World”
Christopher Smart, “Jubilate Agno”
Navajo, “War God’s Horse Song”
Francis Jammes, “A Prayer to Go to Paradise with the Donkeys”
Ralph Waldo Emerson, “See yonder leafless trees against the sky”
J. D. McClatchy, “Weeds”
Charles Wright, “The Evening Is Tranquil, and Dawn Is a Thousand Miles Away”
Joy Harjo, “Eagle Poem”
Wendell Berry, “The Peace of Wild Things”
Elizabeth Barrett Browning, “Patience Taught by Nature”
Matthew Arnold, from “Thyrsis”
Edwin Markham, “The Cricket”
Rudyard Kipling, “Seal Lullaby”
Stephen Crane, “Little Birds of the Night”
Mary Oliver, “Wild Geese”
Queen Lili‘uokalani of Hawaii, “Ku’u Pua I Paoakalani”
Gary Soto, “Ode to a Day in the Country”
Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Father, We Thank Thee”
Maya Angelou, “Prayer”
Ghanaian Prayer, “Lord, keep my parents in your love”
John Newton, “Amazing Grace”
St. Francis of Assisi, “Lord, Make Me an Instrument of Thy Peace”
Gerard Manley Hopkins, “God’s Grandeur”
The Bible, King James Version, “Psalm 23”
Laozi, from Tao Te Ching
Venerable Dhammananda Bhikkuni, “Buddhist Prayer”
The Qur’an, 1:1-7
Jewish Prayer, “Shema Koleinu”
from The Vedas
Rabindranath Tagore, fromGitanjali”
Anonymous, “African Canticle”
William Cowper, “Light Shining Out of Darkness”
John Donne, from The Holy Sonnets
Walt Whitman, “Miracles”
James Weldon Johnson, “Prayer at Sunrise”
Marina Tsvetaeva, “Bent with worry”
Langston Hughes, “Prayer”
Henry Vaughan, “A Vision”
Emily Dickinson, “Ample make this Bed”
The Buddha, “Now may every living thing”
Iroquois, Traditional, “The Thanksgivings”
X. J. Kennedy, “At the First Thanksgiving”
Campbell McGrath, “What They Ate”
Paul Zimmer, “A Romance for the Wild Turkey”
Lydia Maria Child, “The New England Boy’s Song About Thanksgiving Day”
Billy Collins, from “Two Thanksgiving Poems”
Shel Silverstein, “Point of View”
Henry Alford, “Harvest Home”
John Greenleaf Whittier, “Harvest Hymn” 
Carl Sandburg, “Harvest Sunset”
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, “The Harvest Moon”
Robert Louis Stevenson, “Farewell to the Farm”
Gerard Manley Hopkins, “Spring and Fall”
Robert Frost, “Nothing Gold Can Stay”
John Keats, “To Autumn”

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