The Philadelphia Pepper Pot Legend

This day in 1777,
American soldiers, at Valley Forge, camped.
By hunger and winter’s breath, spirits were damped.
Paying a toll for the new revolution,

Frostbitten, starving, they needed a boost,
So Christopher Ludwick prepared a rich meal.
Directed by Washington, he cooked to heal.
It’s pepper pot soup that he chose to produce.

Meat—mostly tripe they’d decided to store—
Peppercorn, veggies, and other small bits
Helped them when they’d reached the end of their wits,
And gave them the strength to push on with the war.


Bunyan and Blue

Folklore well-known throughout each U.S. state
Exposes the lives of Paul Bunyan and Blue,
A huge man and ox of implausible weight
Who’ve both shaped the land in ways we can’t undo.
Paul dug and filled each and every Great Lake—
Watering holes all sufficient for Blue.
Dragging his ax, as the legend does state,
He carved the Grand Canyon. The land, he cut through!
Paul piled rocks up to put out a fire.
By now, we’ve named the formation Mt. Hood.
This lumberjack could have stacked them much higher!
He was enormous, as folklore reports,
Which should be expected from someone who could,
As a newborn, require five traveling storks!


Both poems are from The Alliday Poem Book of Silly Celebrations

S.M. Westerlie is a writer and poet living in Seattle, Washington.

Featured Image: “Pepperpot” by John Louis Krimmel

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