Thanksgiving … 1950

Weekly Newsletter

The best of The Saturday Evening Post in your inbox!

SUPPORT THE POST

Hard, hard it is, this anxious autumn,
To lift the heavy mind from its dark forebodings;
To sit at the bright feast, and with ruddy cheer
Give thanks for the harvest of a troubled year.

The clouds move and shift, withdraw to new positions on the hills;
The sky above us is a thinning haze—a patch of blue appears—
We yearn toward the blue sky as toward the healing of all our ills;
But the storm has not gone over; the clouds come back;
The blue sky turns black;
And the muttering thunder suddenly crashes close, and once again
Flashes of lightening startle the rattling windowpane;
Then once more pours and splashes down the cold, discouraging rain.

Ah, but is it right to feast in a time so solemn?
Should we not, rather, feast—and give the day to prayer?

Prayer, yes; but fasting, no.
Soldier and citizen alike, we are a marching column,
And how long the march may be, and over what terrain
We do not know;
Nor how much hardship, and hunger, how much of pain
We may be called upon to endure. And fortitude
Takes muscle; and needs food.

Never more dear than in a thoughtful hour like this
Are the faces about the table: each stands out
More sharply than before, and is looked at with a longer glance.
And smiles are deep, from behind the eyes, and somewhat quizzical,
Lest they go too far in tenderness.

God bless the harvest of this haggard year;
Pity our hearts, that did so long for Peace;
Deal with us kindly: there are many here
Who love their fellow man (and may their tribe increase).
But cunning and guile persist; ferocity empowers
The lifted arm of the aggressor: the times are bad.
Let us give thanks for the courage that was always ours;
And pray for the wisdom which we never had.

This is nothing new—that we should be attacked
While we are napping: is it not always so?—
And, dazed and unprepared, start up to act,
Rubbing our eyes, not knowing where to go?

Yet the trained hand does not forget its skill;
Nor can we lay precision and speed aside:
Strength we have, and courage; an acetylene will;
A timorous vigilance; but a brave pride.

From the apprehensive present, from a future packed
With unknown dangers, monstrous, terrible and new—
Let us turn for comfort to this simple fact:
We have been in trouble before . . . and we came through.

Become a Saturday Evening Post member and enjoy unlimited access. Subscribe now

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *