Poetry Friday: Bonds of Gratitude

h1 November 28th, 2008 by jules

'The First Thanksgiving,' painting by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris (1863–1930); image in the public domain

I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving with their loved ones. I didn’t have nine kinds of pie after all, but I did have some pumpkin pie and red wine and made sure to watch this, so all was good.

J. Patrick Lewis has stopped by on this Poetry Friday to share another poem from his forthcoming Countdown to Summer: A Poem for Every Day of the School Year, to be published by Little, Brown next year. This poem was first published in Cricket Magazine, November/December 2008:

“The Menu at the First Thanksgiving, 1621”

The Pilgrims likely brought no pigs across:
That first Thanksgiving they would eat no ham,
No mashed potato, sweet potato, yam,
For lack of sugar, no cranberry sauce.
Corn on the cob would not have been around.
A pumpkin pie? Not even in their dreams.
And yet the bounty was a match, it seems,
For this historic day on hallowed ground.
Wild turkey, goose, duck, swan, partridge and crane,
Cod, bass, herring, bluefish and eels released
Uncommon bonds of gratitude. That feast
Would be their last. They never met again—
The Indians and Pilgrims—to break bread.
But that Thanksgiving Day they were well-fed.

I don’t have much more to say, since—as I type this on Thanksgiving evening—I’m still very full from what you could call a feast, I suppose — except that I very much like that poem and appreciate Pat stopping by and sharing today and that the above painting is American painter Jean Leon Gerome Ferris’ “The First Thanksgiving,” and that the rights to the poem are all Pat’s.

See you all on Sunday for your kicks. Until then . . .

3 comments to “Poetry Friday: Bonds of Gratitude”

  1. Wow, that first Thanksgiving was hurting for veggies. Thanks, Pat, for sharing it.

    Jules, oh! I want some pie! Some pumpkin pie! Right now!

  2. What a nice poem. I can see how if you were already nearly full from T’giving dinner, reading it and keying it in must have stretched the buttons even further. 🙂

    That litany of foodstuffs reminded me of a quote I found from Frederick Turner, while working on my own gratitude post today. It’s rather more curmudgeonly, which is why I didn’t use it, but I guess you could call it a cautionary quote:

    “To those who followed Columbus and Cortez, the New World truly seemed incredible because of the natural endowments. The land often announced itself with a heavy scent miles out into the ocean. Giovanni di Verrazano in 1524 smelled the cedars of the East Coast a hundred leagues out. The men of Henry Hudson’s Half Moon were temporarily disarmed by the fragrance of the New Jersey shore, while ships running farther up the coast occasionally swam through large beds of floating flowers. Wherever they came inland they found a rich riot of color and sound, of game and luxuriant vegetation. Had they been other than they were, they might have written a new mythology here. As it was, they took inventory.”

    Hope y’all had a great day yesterday!

  3. The more meat the merrier I say, I would have preferred to be at that table.

    Logan Lamech

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