The best Thanksgiving poem, it seems obvious, is Gerard Manley Hopkins’ “Pied Beauty.”
GLORY be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.
All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
This is the most impressive 10.5 line poem I know of. It’s also one of the only 10.5 line poems I know of, and the others are for the most part also by Hopkins.
I don’t claim any originality in reading this poem (I’ve read a lot of criticism on it for class and my ideas on it mostly come from what I’ve read), but some things to look for:
- The “octave” brings in the entire universe, including the four elements and Aristotle’s ladder of being (from dirt to animals to man)
- The “sestet” subtly introduces the idea of sin and the question of whether differentiation is necessarily ethical differentiation
- The last few lines show us a God who is “past change,” a description that has something to do, though I’m not sure what, with the idea of God as complete actuality