The First Thanksgiving

A Poem

Barbara's poem, THE FIRST THANKSGIVING, [see below] has been selected for inclusion in Simon & Schuster's 1997 Social Studies Program. It will be an audio version, recorded in both English and Spanish for distribution in the educational market throughout the world.


[Until the first houses could be built at Plymouth Colony, the captain of the Mayflower stayed in the harbor and allowed the Pilgrims to live on board the ship.]

For a long time
all we knew was the hiss
and heave of the sea
the empty shore.

Our little ship
has such a springtime name --
MAYFLOWER -- like an armful
of bright blooms
from the garden!

But rocking there last fall
in the cold harbor
we wondered if a single
ever grew in this hard land.

We sat chained
to the long dark days
until a warm wind
twisted sunlight through our hair
beat down on the new
It filled the woods with mayflowers
and pulled green leaves
of corn
up from the earth.

Now summer has come
and gone, and we have
We give thanks.
The wind and the sea
are cold again
but fire blazes on the hearth
and the harvest is golden
in our hands.

Barbara Juster Esbensen Memorial

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