The Ballad of Mary Jones

170316MaryJones

There’s nothing comparable
to enjoying a parable.
That’s why Mary loved the Bible;
it taught her spiritual survival.

She wanted her own sacred text
and knew what she had to do next.
Doing her tasks with ardour,
she worked hard, saved even harder.

For six years she collected wood,
casting chicken feed for the good
of hens that laid eggs she gathered.
She mended clothes that she delivered.

She set off with her hard-earned hoard,
pulled along by faith in her Lord.
Her barefeet trod on stony ground
tracking quarry like God’s faithful hound.

Mary reached Bala far away.
Still panting, she began to pray.
Six years of wages she held up
as the priest put down his cup.

Poor Mary was denied her prize
tears of sorrow filled her eyes.
No Welsh Bibles were left to buy,
‘twas enough to make anyone cry.

The priest took pity on her,
pricked conscience, charity’s spur.
He arranged for food and board
as her epic trek struck a chord

Two days on, more Bibles arrived
Mary was no longer deprived.
He gave her three Bibles with grace
and she skipped back to her birthplace.

Mary’s Bibles were well used
as with her faith they were infused.
They gave birth to a charity
that’s still serving posterity.

There is nothing comparable
to enjoying a parable.
That’s why Mary loved the Bible;
it taught her spiritual survival.

Richard Foster
February 2017

Yesterday (15/03/2017) I sang this ballad for the first time in public at a York University class, led by Lizzi Linklater, devoted to performance poetry. Determined to possess a Bible in her own language, Welsh, Mary Jones saved money for six years by doing odd jobs. In 1800, aged 15, she trekked from her home near Cader Idris to Bala, 26 miles away, to buy a copy. Her barefoot journey across rugged terrain led to the establishment of the Bible Society.

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Author: rjefoster

I am a budding musician and poet hoping to bloom.

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