song of mazu

It’s surprisingly easy to accept the calls of those who call me grandmother
Even though by 28 I had never felt the stretch of children
And there is nothing supernatural about how the waves call to me they always called to me
When I woke, I could hear the sea speak to me

I had to be silent to taste her on my lips
How else could I have been open to her welcome

But she is a fickle thing and I am lucky to have escaped her whims
Perhaps I was her child on loan
Perhaps the red smoke in the presence of my birth was
Her blood in mist rolling in from the shore
Perhaps that’s why I did not speak ,
Already one month old
Born into this land family
Having come from the sea
That’s why my presence will call her
That’s why she loves to see me

Is that why she took my dear earth bound brother
My sweet brother helping my father
We didn’t know then that that I was her daughter
And that I could have
Perhaps
Saved them
If only my land mother had not brought me back
My brother
Sweet boy
My sadness
Every boat that leaves, I see his hair fall over his face – sparkling in the salty air
crystals of her ownership beginning their journey over his skin

Now they dress me in in the flat topped cap I’d never even seen in my lifetime
The beads that hang down so delicate, so precious
And gold and jewels encrust the garb I wear
Handed to me in-lieu of the treasure my water mother took
from men and boats year after year after year

I wear them in love of all those I could not save and all those I can

Favourite daughter
That’s who I am
that I can quell her servant demons and cool her passions in the winds and waves
the drops of seawater that are my eyes penetrate her intention
the shells that catch the whispers of untold breezes that are my ears
penetrate the fog and cloud over crashing rocks I hear them call to me

Exclusive Poem: © J. L. Nash, 2010
Images: © Chen Man for Vogue

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