African American Poetry (1870-1928): A Digital Anthology

William Stanley Braithwaite, "Thanksgiving" (1904)

MY heart gives thanks for many things—
   For strength to labor day by day,
For sleep that comes when darkness wings
   With evening up the eastern way.
I give deep thanks that I'm at peace
   With kith and kin and neighbors, too;
Dear Lord, for all last year's increase,
   That helped me strive and hope and do.

My heart gives thanks for many things;
   I know not how to name them all.
My soul is free from frets and stings,
   My mind from creed and doctrine's thrall.
For sun and stars, for flowers and streams,
   For work and hope and rest and play,
For empty moments given to dreams—
   For these my heart gives thanks today.

Yes, Lord , my thanks for many things
   But one thing thou hast given ,is best ---
I thank thee for the song it sings ,
   I thank thee for its golden crest .
Of all the gifts to man on earth
   Love is the best, the good, the great :
My soul has given a dream, love -birth:
   I thank thee for the happy state .

Published in Colored American Magazine, November 1901
Also published in "Lyrics of Love and Laughter" (1904)
Also published in "The Dunbar Speaker and Entertainer" (1920)

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