Thomas Hood (1799-1845)

Thanksgiving Day is here, and I though I might find a poem or two in celebration of that. But then, I didn’t want a generic poem. A specific poem then–but as we are all thankful for different things, any thing I select runs the chance of failing to connect with many readers. Oh well–that is the way of art (and particularly poetry!): when one writes, one must accept that they are writing for one audience and not another.

So this week I will introduce you to some poetry by Thomas Hood, who wrote at least some of his work for me. The first poem today, Ruth, refers to the book of Ruth in the Bible–which subject I think particularly fitting for a holiday that celebrates both the harvest and a spirit of gratitude towards Providence. Meanwhile the second poem below displays Hood’s own gratitude–or awe–that he could enjoy his wife and two children. I shall be celebrating the same this Thanksgiving (well, almost: I have only one child; but the sentiment is the same).

 

Ruth

She stood breast high amid the corn,
Clasped by the golden light of morn,
Like the sweetheart of the sun,
Who many a glowing kiss had won.
On her cheek an autumn flush
Deeply ripened; such a blush
In the midst of brown was born,
Like red poppies grown with corn.
Round her eyes her tresses fell—
Which were blackest who could tell;
But long lashes veiled a light
That had else been all too bright.
And her hat, with shady brim,
Made her tressy forehead dim;
Thus she stood amid the stooks,
Praising God with sweetest looks.
Sure, I said, Heaven did not mean
Where I reap thou shouldst but glean;
Lay thy sheaf adown and come,
Share my harvest and my home.

 

 

Lines On Seeing My Wife And Two Children Sleeping In The Same Chamber

 

And has the earth lost its so spacious round,
The sky its blue circumference above,
That in this little chamber there is found
Both earth and heaven—my universe of love!
All that my God can give me, or remove,
Here sleeping, save myself, in mimic death.
Sweet that in this small compass I behove
To live their living and to breathe their breath!
Almost I wish that, with one common sigh,
We might resign all mundane care and strife,
And seek together that transcendent sky,
Where Father, Mother, Children, Husband, Wife,
Together pant in everlasting life!

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