In the weeks that she has been in the honorary role of Plymouth Young City Laureate, Olivia Templeton has undertaken a range of commissions on behalf of Plymouth City Council, engaging in commemorations and celebrations across the city.

Today, on the day that Thanksgiving is celebrated in America, Olivia has written a poem, which in standing tradition is shared by the Plymouth City Council with children and young people in Plymouth, Massachusetts. We share it here.

The First Thanksgivings

On the first American Thanksgiving of 1621

Pilgrims and Natives feasted through three days worth of sun

It was thanks for the successful harvest they had planned

And for safely setting foot upon dry land.

 

Squanto, a Wampanoag, taught them to catch eel

Massasoit, Squanto’s leader, brought the Pilgrim’s warming meals

It’s thanks for them being kept healthy and good

And for keeping them through winter, to enter adulthood.

 

The second, first American Thanksgiving of 1623

was the first civil recognition, New England would agree

It followed a fast and a fourteen day rain

Which left them a larger harvest of corn and of grain.

 

The third, first American Thanksgiving of 1777

Was a victory celebration, that gave thanks to the Heavens

For the Battle of Saratoga they did finish

With the eventual defeat of the British.

 

The fourth, first American Thanksgiving of 1789

Declared Thursday November 26th as the official day to dine

But after this, for fourteen years after 1801

Thanksgiving celebrations, there were none.

 

The fifth, first American Thanksgiving of 1814

A renewal of the celebration arrived on the scene

Thanksgiving Eve raffles and turkey shooting in the morning

Church services and huddled families outside under awning.

 

In the more recognizable Thanksgiving of 2018

Tables are filled with turkey, potatoes and beans so green

American football and parades on TV are broadcast

It’s a time to give thanks and reflect on a great year that’s passed

 

Olivia Templeton, November 2018. Plymouth, United Kingdom.