Harvest Festival Poems

I’ve posted these before, but as it’s that time of year again, here are the two versions of my harvest poem – as always, help yourself if you’d like to use them in worship, print them in notice sheets or use them in home groups, or whatever. I’d love to know how you decide to use them, if you do.

The poem comes in two sizes: the original one is the longer of the two, and then there’s a ‘lite’ version for those who like their poems shorter. It still didn’t end up short enough for a sonnet though!

Here is the original (longer) version:

We bring our gifts:
The first-fruits of our labour,
or perhaps the spare we do not need,
(an offering to mitigate against our greed).

To the church we bring them,
and into the hands of Christ we place them,
and we say, ‘Take this,
and do with it some miracle:
Turn water into wine again,
or multiply my loaves and fish
to feed a crowd again.’

And Jesus takes them from our hand,
this fruit of the ocean, this product of the land,
and blesses them, accepting back
what always was the Lord’s.
Our gifts will fill the lack
of hungry people,
putting flesh on words
of charity, and making folk
in our small corner of the world
more equal.

We know there is enough for everyone.
But once the leftovers are gone –
taken to the homeless, hungry poor –
what of those twelve empty baskets standing idly by?
Can there yet be more
that we can ask our Lord to multiply?

Into those baskets therefore let us place ourselves,
those parts of us that need transforming,
grace and strength and healing,
the gifts in us that need to be increased and shared
with a greater generosity than we may be prepared
to offer on our own account.

For we are God’s rich and splendid bounty,
seeds, sown and scattered by the Lord in every place.
the human race:
the crowning glory
of the ever-evolving creation story.
We thank the Lord
that he does not just separate wheat from tare,
but takes our very best
then turns us into far more than we are.

And here is the shorter version:

We bring the spare we do not really need
(for surely God will honour all we bring
although it cannot make up for our greed).
And place into Christs’s hands our offering:
“Turn water into wine again,” we say,
“and multiply my token loaves and fish
to feed another hungry crowd today.”
Our gifts, we know, will put some flesh
on words of charity. Then into those
twelve empty baskets, let us place the gifts in us
that need to be increased and shared
with greater generosity than we may be prepared
to offer on our own account.
For we are God’s most rich and splendid bounty,
sown as seeds and scattered by the Lord
in every place.
the human race:
the crowning glory
of the ever-evolving creation story.
We thank God that he does not only separate the wheat from tare,
but takes our very best then turns us into far more than we are.

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4 thoughts on “Harvest Festival Poems

  1. Thank -you, just what I was looking for for Sunday.
    A back up plan as the rota has my name highlighted with ‘Harvest Poem?’ written by it though no one has mentioned anything. Hardly surprising as our single figure congregation has crammed into a single weekend a flower festival, harvest service, teddy-bear parachute jump, refreshments and I think a BBQ but I’m losing track. At least I’ll get the use of my freezer back once all the fruit cakes and massive harvest loaf are removed from it.

  2. Thank you Ally, we will be using the shorter version of your poem in our Harvest Festival on 17th October here in rural West Dorset. A harvest that will have actual farmers at it! Late in the day for us as the maize is only just coming in. But now the wild winds of October have arrived and the tractors are quieter so we are getting ready to celebrate.

    1. Hi Jo, I am very honoured that my harvest poem should be considered worthy of a proper rural harvest festival! My last parishes were similar – the farmers came to the service, and there was always a genuine sense of thanksgiving, and an awareness of the vulnerability of the crops to the weather and climate. Thank you for choosing my poem for this occasion – and I wish you a wonderful and blessed harvest festival.

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