The artist who painted the above, Jean-Leon Gerome Ferris (1863-1930), created many works portraying pivotal moments in American history such as "Writing the Declaration of Independence, 1776," "Betsy Ross, 1777," and "Let Us Have Peace" (Lee's surrender to Grant).
My poem for today was informed by my learning about the Mayflower women and in response to "The First Thanksgiving, 1621." I'm dedicating it to my friend, Andrea Murphy, a descendant of one of the Mayflower women, Mary Chilton. Andrea, too, is trying to bring forth the truth about the first Thanksgiving. Her audience, however, is preschoolers.
Dear Mr. Ferris:
Re: your painting titled
"The First Thanksgiving, 1621"
We, the women of Plymouth
were not glowing with health.
Nor, were we given to smiling.
Yet, you portray us as robust,
clean, and gracious hostesses.
Rather, viscera from all manner
of wild creatures stained our dress.
Our scarred hands were burned,
swollen, cracked and bleeding.
We silently wept with pain, fatigue.
We cooked and served as was
our lot, while the stink of bear-
greased savages filled our noses
making us gag. Our own men, too,
had a noxious stink about them--fear.
Some may have given thanks
that day, but it was not the women.
Therefore, we write to urge you to
take up brush and palette once more.
Do not give us beauty, give us truth.
The four who had the misfortune not to
have perished in the year of our Lord, 1621
© Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.
Welcome back to Katya at Write. Sketch. Repeat. who will be hosting the Round-Up this week.
Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!