I wrote this poem a few years ago, but in light of the recent events in Texas it seemed a good time to share it publicly.
At the time I penned it a mother had suddenly lost her husband and I was extremely moved by her situation. The poem is not specifically about her, but more about grief – and then I read the legend of the Blue Bonnets and the poem took shape.
The poem has taken on new meanings for me in the wake of recovery from cyclone yasi, which it seems we only now start to truly feel relieved from.
When the newspapers and most media go, and headlines diminish families are still left rebuilding, recovering and having to learn to let go to truly be free in the spirit. This is by no means easy. Yet somehow we get there in the end, and stories have a power to help us make it the point of renewal.
Funerals like rain
Fall from clouds
Young boys say ‘goodbye’
As father’s lowered to the ground
Mother stands alone
Tears become her shroud
Funeral goers utter not a sound.
She hears blue guitar strums
She’s pounding melancholy’s drums.
Texas and Tully are so far apart
Yet they share skies
Where hawks and ibis fly
Storms and troubles rock both their shores
Warn their people to depart.
She tells her children
the legend of the Texas Blue Bonnet flower
A young girl gave up her warrior doll,
The last reminder of family,
To invoke a higher power.
She burnt her warrior doll
Its head dress of blue feathers
Offered up its ashes
To the North, South, East and West Winds
So hunger and loss it would tether.
She cried herself to sleep.
Let her memory weep.
When she awoke
Never before seen flowers,
Clambered the mountains
Birds made their bowers
People drank from hope’s fountains.
The mother with the shroud
Inside’s the little girl
Who’ll burn her own warrior doll
She knows what must be done
She’ll let her dreams unfurl.
She’ll wait till all sleep then
Pull out her favourite guitar
Take those blue cords
Burn them, banish them
Scatter their ashes,
North, South, East and West.
The dry season will begin
Floods have had their fun
A looking- to-the-future music
will now begin to grow.
By June Perkins