This is a special time, a truly unique American holiday, filled with family and friends, football, platters of caloric corncopia and the residue of vestigal resolutions of this year only one serving of turkey. We have a lot to be grateful for as a nation as one war seems to be winding down and another seems to have a definite end date. True we may be frisked like common criminals trying to board a plane but at least we have a Presidential tradition of pardoning the Presidential turkey. Hope all of you have a lot to be grateful for (for me having 4 wonderful and awesome children tops the list, especially since one can write poetry to keep the string going at 4 generations) Missing only a trip to Rose Bowl by the Cardinal. Hope you enjoy the poem and try daily servings of 140 character 4 line poems on news events of interest on my twitter.com/alaskanpoet Happy Thanksgiving!
How much is fact, how much myth ingrained in our national lore—
The first Thanksgiving on Plymouth's not so golden shores?
A boatload of Pilgrims driven not by gold or land on a one way trip
Too far north, too cold and in starvation's nearby grip
To on earth, find the peace to worship and to pray
Free of persecution they could not keep at bay.
One half gone, the rest on the slimmest of reeds
How to make it to planting without eating all your seeds?
You could not grab the cell phone and say I quit, I want to leave
As more grave sites gave cause to question why and to grieve
On a cold, spring day with only your faith to keep you warm
Imagine the fears, imagine the sense of alarm
When out of the woods an Abnaki brave did appear
Loss of all your dreams, the sum of all your fears.
If he could have seen the future, a spear perhaps thrown
A tidal wave of migration would soon be calling up his loan.
Instead, these Pilgrims received the skills to survive,
Until the next ship braving the stormy seas could arrive
From hunting to using dead fish for the soil to which plants to eat
Lessons taught by those whose future would soon be in full retreat.
How else could you give thanks when the harvest filled the cupboards bare
Than to reach out beyond your band with outstretched hand and share.
And so they did on the First Thanksgiving
Platters of food to push away any misgivings
Hard to find today a Native American in Newport Beach,
But over 400 years the events still teach.
Very simple, so hard to confuse
Two words, not separate but in fuse
You cannot give Thanks and expect your God to receive
Unless you also Give to others their misery to relieve.
In so doing no matter how much turkey eaten there will be no guilt
You've tried to sweep away the fences, tried to make the divisions wilt.
(c) Michael P. Ridley
November 23, 2010