Graveyard Blues – Natasha Tretheway

Graveyard Blues

It rained the whole time we were laying her down;
Rained from church to grave when we put her down.
The suck of mud at our feet was a hollow sound.

When the preacher called out I held up my hand;
When he called for a witness I raised my hand—
Death stops the body’s work, the soul’s a journeyman.

The sun came out when I turned to walk away,
Glared down on me as I turned and walked away—
My back to my mother, leaving her where she lay.

The road going home was pocked with holes,
That home-going road’s always full of holes;
Though we slow down, time’s wheel still rolls.

I wander now among names of the dead:
My mother’s name, stone pillow for my head.

— Natasha Tretheway

Graveyard Blues is a poem as a song. A plain rhyme scheme, with words repeating for the majority of each stanza, makes the feelings, particularly the pain, expressed all the more felt. If you enjoyed this, see my other post on Natash Tretheway and her book Native Guard.

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