Happy Thanksgiving to you all from GCP! Even though we took Thursday off to celebrate with family and friends and stuff ourselves silly, we could not let this week pass without a Thoughtful Thursday for the holiday. And so today we offer a lineup of Thanksgiving inspired poetry from African American poets. First, the very appropriate “Thanksgiving Time” from Langston Hughes, in which he celebrates all that makes a great Thanksgiving day. This holiday brings families together from near and far, which can include sons home from school, so we had to include “Love That Boy” from Walter Dean Myers. Even if your boys are home everyday you can appreciate this ode to them. (You almost have to sing this one if you read it aloud.) “My People”, another from Langston Hughes, is an elegantly simple tribute to our folks. And we couldn’t resist including “Greens”, James A. Emanuel’s celebration of a staple on the Thanksgiving table (ours, anyway). Enjoy.

Thanksgiving Time

When the night winds whistle through the trees and blow the crisp brown leaves a-crackling down,
When the autumn moon is big and yellow-orange and round,
When old Jack Frost is sparkling on the ground,
It’s Thanksgiving Time!

When the pantry jars are full of mince-meat and the shelves are laden with sweet spices for a cake,
When the butcher man sends up a turkey nice and fat to bake,
When the stores are crammed with everything ingenious cooks can make,
It’s Thanksgiving Time!

When the gales of coming winter outside your window howl,
When the air is sharp and cheery so it drives away your scowl,
When one’s appetite craves turkey and will have no other fowl,
It’s Thanksgiving Time!

Langston Hughes

Love That Boy

Love that boy,
like a rabbit loves to run
I said I love that boy
like a rabbit loves to run
Love to call him in the morning
love to call him
‘Hey there, son!’

He walk like his Grandpa,
Grins like his Uncle Ben.
I said he walk like his Grandpa,
And grins like his Uncle Ben.
Grins when he’s happy,
When he sad, he grins again.

His mama like to hold him,
Like to feed him cherry pie.
I said his mama like to hold him.
Like to feed him that cherry pie.
She can have him now,
I’ll get him by and by

He got long roads to walk down
Before the setting sun.
I said he got a long, long road to walk down
Before the setting sun.
He’ll be a long stride walker,
And a good man before he done.

Walter Dean Myers

My People

The night is beautiful,
So the faces of my people.

The stars are beautiful,
So the eyes of my people.

Beautiful, also, is the sun.
Beautiful, also, are the souls of my people.

Langston Hughes


Lid’s on, steam’s risin’:
collard greens, Lord, bubblin’ JAZZ!
That’s appetizin’.

James A. Emanuel