Wednesday, November 21, 2012

On Thanksgiving

Of all events parading through the year
Not one can to this humble feast compare.
To feel or offer thanks today is rare 
However well our lives remain in gear.

As ease became the norm, we soon forgot 
None of Plymouth’s Pilgrims felt regret. 
Knowing death and cruel privation’s threat
Spoiled not their faith, or made them curse their lot.

Given much yet now we seem to crave
Immeasurable bounty we don’t need 
Voluptuous excess revealing Greed 
Indifference to the noble, fine and brave.

No pilgrim, pioneer or great tycoon*
Grew up as a self-indulgent goon.

~ FreeThinke - 11/24/11

The First Thanksgiving - John Leon Jerome Ferris (1863-1930)



1. A wealthy and powerful businessperson or industrialist; a magnate.
2. Used formerly as a title for a Japanese shogun.


Japanese taikun, title of a shogun, of Chinese origin


Claims have been made in today's global economy that some business leaders have more power than heads of states. It is etymologically fitting that such leaders are sometimes called tycoons. Tycoon came into English from Japanese, which had borrowed the title, meaning "great prince," from Chinese. Use of the word was intended to make the shogun, the commander in chief of the Japanese army, more impressive to foreigners (his official title shogun merely meant "general"). It worked with Matthew C. Perry, who opened Japan to the West in 1854; Perry carried out his negotiations with the shogun, thinking him to be the emperor. In fact, the shogun did rule Japan, although he was supposedly acting for the emperor. The shogun's title, taikun, was brought back to the United States after Perry's visit. Abraham Lincoln's cabinet members used tycoon as an affectionate nickname for the President. The word soon came to be used for business and industry leaders at times being applied to figures like J. P. Morgan, who may indeed have wielded more power than many princes and presidents.

~ Merriam Webster, 11th edition. online text


  1. As ease became the norm, we soon forgot

    Thus you have summarized the entire history of mankind, IMO, and more eloquently than "You don't know what you have until it's gone."

  2. Nice poem!

    Honcho also comes from Japanese. I heard it entered popular use hear after WW II

  3. f you wrote that poem, you're one hell of a good writer, Freethinke. Very clever the way you used "on Thanksgiving" down the left side to start every line.

    Just wanted you to know that someone is noticing what you do.

    Are you maybe a college professor?

    Helen Highwater

  4. Thanks, all of you.

    It's good to now someone appreciates these efforts.

    One of the reasons I like writing sonnets, and insist on using them repeatedly is their capacity for making significant points compactly and succinctly.

    At last that what we aim for in these here parts.

    And so to bed!

    ~ FT



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