Remembering Bridget

Issue FourPoetry

Written by:

Views: 1973

(Bridget Cox Bishop, 1848-1912)


By Geoff Budden


J Cox and his five sons

lost in their boat off

the Harbor April 24, 1859.


When their dory failed to make it

she was the girl on the shore;

witness to the opposite of a miracle.


We sing of the men who rant and roar;

who sailed up Golden Bay;

whose dreams survived the night.


But what of Bridget?

what song or faith could comfort her

that Easter Sunday in 1859?


In time she became

a fisherman’s wife, a mother,

a maker of fish and of homes


but always barometer-haunted,

anxious with every rising wind:



Living and dying in saltsprayed houses;

the ocean, murderous and grey,

visible always.


Oceans of tears; dreaming of waves,

of fathers and sons and of unburied brothers,

of things endured, of things survived.


Artwork by Jackie Benney. Published with permission of the artist.