Ode to Pilgrims True

by Derrick G. Jeter

In the cruel winter of 1620,

After a voyage with dangers aplenty,

A motley bunch of English stock

Landed here on Plymouth Rock.


From old England they fled with their lives—

Their children, their possessions, and their wives.

King James stood not their separatists’ way,

“Persecutions,” he said they must pay.


At first they fled for Leydan town,

A city in Holland with water around.

To worship God in freedom they said:

“No king may put our conscience to dread.”


Twelve years in Holland they spent.

Hard work—yet made not a cent.

Low morals were known in that land.

Corrupted children they would not stand.


To America they must flee—

“’Tis the only place to be free.”

Free to worship the God that they love.

Free to sacrifice to the One up above.


The Speedwell—they purchased that boat.

But soon discovered that it couldn’t float.

On the Mayflower they would depend,

To carry them safe to America’s end.


Through storm tossed seas and bitter wind,

The Pilgrims—their stomachs would not mend.

With a terrible groan the main beam cracked,

But with a giant screw it was quickly jacked.


Onward they sailed, to Virginia they hoped.

But blown off course, southward they groped.

The Pollock Rip was almost their doom.

Cap Cod it would be, winter was soon.


Brewster, Carver, and Winslow that day,

With Bradford followed God to the bay.

Captain Jones an anchor did drop.

New England—there they would stop.


But without a charter in hand

How could they settle New England’s land?

How could they keep their colony intact?

A document! The “Mayflower Compact.”


“For the glory of God and Christian grace,

“To honor king and country, we establish this place.

“Signed today, the 11th of November.

“From now, we shall ever remember.”


A month to the day, after exploring the Cape,

A group of Pilgrims stood, their mouths agape.

Before them stretched a fertile field,

Open and rich what bounties to yield!


To the Mayflower, the news they must break.

Upon their return there was but heartache.

Dorothy Bradford overboard went down,

Into the sea, she sadly drown.


No time to mourn, winter was here.

Running short on victuals—and especially beer.

Disembarking their Mayflower home,

On Christmas day, no longer to roam.


Though winter was harsh and many died,

Spring time came—a turning tide.

“Indian coming!” Captain Standish leapt.

“Welcome. Beer do you have? I am Samoset.”


Astonished by his English tongue;

Astonished by the story he sung.

Patuxet was where they currently sit,

Surrounded by the Wampanoag, Massasoit.


But soon Samoset would bring forth a man—

A special instrument used by God’s hand.

A slave in England was he,

But now prove a savior to be.


Squanto—his name we shall not forget.

The Pilgrims learn and never regret—

Fish and deer, to kill and not scorn,

Nor the planting of Indian corn.


Without his friendship the Pilgrim’s fare

Would have been scarce and a wisp of air.

But Squanto, his praise now not the least

Was sent by God to produce such a feast.


In 1621, in the month of October

The Pilgrims invited the Wampanoags over—

To drink and feast on turkey and duck

Venison, lobster, and freshly picked turnip.


Corn, of course, was had by all;

Walnuts, chestnuts, and acorns that fall.

Pumpkin, peas, cod, and eel,

Every belly that day had its fill.


So there you have it—our Thanksgiving Day.

A rich history of Pilgrims with courage and stay.

So praise to God for ancestors true

Who raised them up . . . for me and for you.