We are delighted to share the first poem by Holly Peters, Mayflower 400 Young City Laureate for Plymouth in 2019. We hope you enjoy 'The Colour of Thanksgiving'.

The Colour of Thanksgiving

The dinner was set: red placemats, twinkling silverware,
The table winding out, filling the room far beyond the walls
Into past centuries, gone, but not forgotten,
A feast to feed a nation.

One a trumpet, the other a drum, playing different songs,
But for one rosy day, it was far from wrong.

Months on the stormy seas, hidden within a creaking ship,
A world unfamiliar, a world unknown to them.
They were taught how to mine riches from the trees
And how to raise gold from the soil.

It was in the crunching of the leaves, orange and brown;
A foreign sound sailing on the breeze.

With what they’d learnt, an exchange of knowledge,
Of culture, of their past and their future,
They redesigned a map of the world,
The creation of a new colour, a colour of two.

A sunny spell during a raging storm,
A breath of fresh air, a land transformed.

Together they sat – a collision of all –
United: an apology, a celebration.
Tearing meat from the bones and tossing them aside,
The first Thanksgiving feast.

Venison and berries and pumpkins and ham,
Parsnips and turkey and lobster and clams.

People cheer, children sing,
The parade marching forward, but unravelling
Back into a distant world, to help us learn,
To help us remember each and every Thanksgiving.

A tale spun from rose petals and gold,
Generation to generation, one always to be retold.

Holly Peters, November 2019.

Holly will read the poem this evening at the opening of the Illuminate Festival in Plymouth.

The Young City Laureate programme is a collaborative partnership between Literature Works and Plymouth City Council.