“A Rockwell Thanksgiving” by Ken Gosse

’Twas the morn of Thanksgiving
and in their dark house
his wife was up early
(not waking her spouse),
to turn on the oven
at quarter past three
and roast a huge bird
for a large family.

The turkey, well stuffed,
had been basted with care
in hopes that the grandchildren
soon would be there,
when at the front door
there arose a great clatter!
They knew who’d arrived;
there was nothing the matter.

Straight into the kitchen
kids flew like young deer,
tore open the fridge
(which was loaded with beer).
The sodas and whipped cream,
cranberries and pies,
brought lusters of joy
to their bright, wondering eyes.

Then who else arrived
like the team of a sleigh
but the cats and the dogs
who’d been begging all day,
but knew they’d get naught
until hordes of kids came,
who’d tease them but feed them
and call them by name:

“Come Whiskers. Come Sasha,
Come, Felix and Vixen.
Here Pluto. Here Boxer.
Now play dead, ol’ Nixon.”
And soon, aunts and uncles
and cousins galore,
over rivers, through woods,
had arrived at their door.

No presents and packages
tied up in strings,
for today was a day to give thanks,
not give things.
The warmth, love, and hugs—
even Aunt Millie’s kisses—
these best gifts of all
are what everyone misses
once someone has moved far away,
or passed on,
and it’s times such as these,
when we realize they’re gone,
that we share our love deeper
than ever before;
all the more as each guest
brings a smile to the door.

They feast and they fancy,
they talk, laugh and sing;
share memories and hopes
for what this year may bring.
Though appetites fill
and the table gets cluttered,
they’ll stuff in desert
(and a cold roll, still buttered).

Too soon the eve ends
and it’s time to go home
(cousin Jeffy, again,
stole the old garden gnome).
Then off in gas coursers,
on Fall’s long, dark night,
they leave for their homesteads
’neath heaven’s soft light;
all full and quite sleepy,
as each looks above,
they’re thankful for family,
and family’s love.



Ken Gosse prefers writing short, rhymed verse with traditional meter, usually filled with whimsy and humor. First published in First Literary Review–East in November 2016, his poems are also in The Offbeat, Pure Slush, Parody, Home Planet News Online, Eclectica, and other publications. Raised in the Chicago suburbs, now retired, he and his wife have lived in Mesa, AZ, over twenty years.

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