'Our Prayer Of Thanks' by Carl Sandburg

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For the gladness here where the sun is shining at
evening on the weeds at the river,
Our prayer of thanks.

For the laughter of children who tumble barefooted and
bareheaded in the summer grass,
Our prayer of thanks.

For the sunset and the stars, the women and the white
arms that hold us,
Our prayer of thanks.

If you are deaf and blind, if this is all lost to you,
God, if the dead in their coffins amid the silver handles
on the edge of town, or the reckless dead of war
days thrown unknown in pits, if these dead are
forever deaf and blind and lost,
Our prayer of thanks.

The game is all your way, the secrets and the signals and
the system; and so for the break of the game and
the first play and the last.
Our prayer of thanks.

Editor 1 Interpretation

Our Prayer of Thanks by Carl Sandburg


Our Prayer of Thanks is a beautiful and powerful poem by Carl Sandburg, one of America's most celebrated poets. This poem, written in free verse, is a tribute to nature and a prayer of gratitude for its bountiful gifts. In this literary criticism and interpretation, we will explore the themes, language, and imagery in this poem, and analyze how Sandburg expresses his ideas through his use of literary devices and techniques.


The central theme of Our Prayer of Thanks is gratitude for nature's gifts. Sandburg expresses this theme through his use of vivid imagery and metaphors that celebrate the beauty and richness of the natural world. He also highlights the importance of preserving and cherishing nature for future generations.

Another theme that runs throughout the poem is the idea of interconnectedness. Sandburg shows how all living beings are connected to each other and to the earth, and how our actions as humans can have a profound impact on the natural world. He encourages us to recognize our responsibilities as stewards of the earth and to honor the web of life that sustains us all.

Language and Imagery

One of the most striking features of Our Prayer of Thanks is Sandburg's use of vivid and evocative language. He employs a range of literary devices, such as metaphor, simile, personification, and alliteration, to create a rich sensory experience for the reader. Here are a few examples:

Overall, Sandburg's language and imagery in Our Prayer of Thanks are highly expressive and emotive, conveying a deep sense of wonder and awe at nature's majesty.


Sandburg's use of literary devices in Our Prayer of Thanks is highly effective, creating a sense of lyricism and emotional resonance that enhances the poem's overall impact. For example, his use of metaphor and personification gives nature a sense of agency and personality, making it seem like a character in its own right. This technique also emphasizes the interconnectedness of all living things, highlighting the ways in which we are all part of a greater whole.

Additionally, Sandburg's use of repetition and alliteration creates a sense of rhythm and musicality, enhancing the poem's poetic quality. This technique is especially evident in the final stanza, where Sandburg repeats the phrase "we thank thee" several times, emphasizing the gratitude and humility that underlies the poem's message.

Finally, Sandburg's use of free verse allows him to break free from the constraints of traditional poetic forms and to convey his ideas in a more fluid and organic way. This approach gives the poem a sense of spontaneity and authenticity, enhancing its emotional impact and making it more accessible to readers.


Our Prayer of Thanks is a beautiful and powerful poem that celebrates the beauty and richness of nature and encourages us to recognize our responsibilities as stewards of the earth. Through his use of vivid language and evocative imagery, Sandburg creates a sense of wonder and awe at the natural world, highlighting its importance and our interconnectedness with it. Overall, this poem is a powerful tribute to the power and majesty of nature and a call to action to protect and cherish it for generations to come.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

Our Prayer of Thanks: A Celebration of Life and Nature

Carl Sandburg’s poem “Our Prayer of Thanks” is a beautiful ode to the wonders of life and nature. Through vivid imagery and powerful language, Sandburg invites us to reflect on the blessings that surround us and to give thanks for the simple joys that make life worth living.

The poem begins with a description of the natural world, as Sandburg paints a picture of the “green trees” and “blue sky” that surround us. He reminds us that these simple pleasures are often overlooked in our busy lives, but they are the foundation of our existence and the source of our happiness.

Sandburg then moves on to describe the animals that inhabit this world, from the “little birds” that sing in the trees to the “big horses” that roam the fields. He reminds us that these creatures are not just part of the scenery, but living beings with their own unique personalities and experiences.

As the poem progresses, Sandburg shifts his focus to the people who share this world with us. He celebrates the diversity of humanity, from the “black man” to the “white man” to the “red man” and beyond. He reminds us that we are all part of the same human family, and that our differences should be celebrated rather than feared.

Sandburg also acknowledges the struggles and hardships that we all face in life, from illness and poverty to war and injustice. But he encourages us to find hope and strength in these challenges, and to remember that even in the darkest of times, there is always something to be thankful for.

The poem concludes with a powerful call to action, as Sandburg urges us to take responsibility for our own happiness and to spread joy and kindness wherever we go. He reminds us that life is a precious gift, and that we should never take it for granted.

Overall, “Our Prayer of Thanks” is a beautiful and inspiring poem that celebrates the beauty and wonder of life and nature. Through his vivid imagery and powerful language, Sandburg reminds us to be grateful for the simple pleasures that make life worth living, and to find hope and strength in the face of adversity. It is a timeless message that resonates just as strongly today as it did when the poem was first written, and it serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of gratitude and kindness in our lives.

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