Thanksgiving 2006 Captured in Prayer and Poetry

November 20, 2006

As students, faculty, and staff at Mary Baldwin trade their desks for dinner tables during a brief break, the college extends holiday greetings to all. A prayer, penned by College Chaplain the Reverend Pat Hunt, and a well-known poem by John Keats say what so many are thinking and feeling at this time of year.


Prayer for the Faculty
Mary Baldwin University
November 29, 1998

Our Gracious God,

The old table blessing goes,
“Make us truly grateful for these and all our other many blessings.”
Make us truly grateful.

Why do weneeddivine intervention
to achieve true gratitude?
What would it take for us to pick up all the threads and scraps and debris of our lives
and claim them, embrace them, and even be grateful for
the loving kinfolk and the problem ones,
the body parts that work well and the ones that don’t,
able scholars and slackers,
our triumphs and our miseries?
What would it take for is the finally love life, messy as it is?

God, doyoulove it?
Are you truly grateful for us? For this college?
Do you have to be God to know through-going thankfulness
or it is open to mere mortals?

This Thanksgiving we join our prayer
with the generations before us who petitioned you.
Make us truly grateful for all our many blessings.



To Autumn(1819)
John Keats

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,
Drows’d with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,–
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.