Along with the turkey and the pie, one of the loveliest customs I have long favored on Thanksgiving is reading aloud. Turn away, for a moment, from the buzz and the news and the dark tidings of which there are right now too many. Find that passage in an old book (or on the internet) that once moved you to tears, and read it aloud to those you care about. Some thoughts on this, in a column I wrote shortly after Sept. 11, 2001, “In Praise of Reading Aloud,” and I’d say just the same today.
The line quoted above is from W.H. Auden’s “In Memory of W.B. Yeats” — written in 1939. It is from the final quatrain, beautiful to read aloud:
“In the deserts of the heart
Let the healing fountain start,
In the prison of his days
Teach the free man how to praise.”