Wednesday, January 12, 2011

"A Flower Bloomed" to my Grandmother Mary Jane Ashton by Orrin D. Wardle


“ A Flower Bloomed”

To my Grandmother –
Mary Ashton Wardle

By Orrin D. Wardle

______________________________

The flowers bloomed
With colors bright
That verdant spring of fifty-six
 ‘Round Stockport town,
Down Cheshire way,
On hills,
In Vales,
In England’s realm.


The rains of March,
With fog and cold,
Had nourished growth
And brought the green
That dressed the hills
And filled the vales
Throughout the land
In
April,
May.


Beyond the town,
Brim full of glee,
Roamed
Little girls
In play
And search to see,
Enjoy,
The land’s display.
Four girls there were:
One
Our
Mary.



Who were those girls?
The Ashton Girls.
They’re William’s girls
And Sarah Ann’s;
Of yeoman stock who worked
In mills
To earn
Their bread
In poverty.

A NEW LIFE

Wilford Woodruff
And
Brigham Young
Years ‘fore
Had come
To that good land
To teach the plan,
The word of Christ,
Of Gospel lost,
To earth restored.

The parents heard;
The word they b’lived;
The Ashtons
Joined
The Church of Christ.
In forty-one,
They were baptized;
Then thought
Of Zi’n
Across the sea.

When
Mary came
In fifty-one
The thought held firm,
“We’d go there now
If
Funds we had.”
They
Labored
On Selves to sustain
While
Waiting long.
“A Flower Bloomed,” p. 2

From fifty-one
To
Fifty-six,
She grew,
And played,
And learned,
And Worked
As little girls in England did
In age of
Queen Victoria.

She went to church
In cottage small.
She’d listened
To the preachers
Tell
Of  Joseph Smith,
Moroni too
Who’d brought
The book
From days of old.

She’d talked with friends
‘Bout Jesus Christ,
And questions
Asked her parents dear,
Why
She
On earth had come
To live.
She’d
Come to b’lieve
What Mormons know!

While daddy
In the mills did work,
They saved
A pence,
A farthing here,
But
Realized
They’d never get cash funds enough
To pay
Their fare.
Their
Miracle
Did
Then occur!
The leaders
Told about a fund –
Perpetual
Immigration
Fund –
For
Worthy saints
of Ashton mold.

Why
Did they come?
We
Can surmise they thought
Some
Of a better life:
More free to be what they would be,
To have a job,
To own a home.

Or
Was it faith
In Zion
Mew?
They
Truly b’lived the Mormon book;
They
Wanted place among the Saints:
They
Pondered brief,
Then
Said,
“Let’s go!”

Meanwhile
The girls danced down the lanes
With skipping feet
And pumping hearts.
A hope
A new
Came to their house
As fresh new green bathed
All the land.
“A Flower Bloomed,” p. 3


The flowers
Bloomed
That verdant spring
Of fifty-six
Excited girls chose
What to go
And
What to leave,
While
Green
The hills and vales
Become.

To gold
They gave but little thought.
The girls
More thought,
‘Mid grass and shade,
Of ships
And trains
And Indians,
Of buffalo
And
Desert lands.

Would they be
Safe?
With daddy,
Yes!
No fear;
He’d
Surely
Care for them.
Their souls
Were full of sheer delight:
We’re
Going
To-
America!”




Goodbye!
Goodbye!
The fond Farewells
To friends and home,
To relatives,
With tears
But firmed
In faith that they now had
In
Gospel true.

If friends they’d leave;
New friends they’d have.
If home was left;
If birthplace left;
New birth had come.
They’d
Leave the old;
They’d
Find the new.

For
They’d been
Taught.
Missionaries had taught and told
With certainty
How desert
Would, from rim to rim,
Be filled
And make
The roses bloom.

And
Thus
That May
Of fifty-six,
As flowers bloomed
‘Round Stockport town,
The Ashtons
Left their loved ones deer
To seek
New life
In Zion land.



“A Flower Bloomed,” p. 4

At Liverpool,
They found
Their ship
Whose Master Reed in record wrote,
“A man and wife,
Each thirty-three,
And children
Four
By
P. E. Fund.”

“Horizon”
Ship for Boston bound,
Six hundred saints,
Two hundred more,
Were being led by Priesthood
Called to organize
And see them through.

Great storms
They had
With boisterous waves,
But sun
Came out
And girls played on,
Chased
‘Round the deck
And through the ropes
As Captain yelled
Then smiled and bore.

CAME SADNESS!

Elizabeth,
Her sister dear,
Her living doll,
Did die
At sea,
When
Only two,
And then
Was slipped beneath the waves,
To play
No more.
“Oh,
Father dear,
In Heav’n Above
Why
Took you her
In life so new?
A babe
In arms
Was all we knew.”
And
Anguish
Filled
The hearts of all.

The ship sailed on,
Five weeks passed by,
Until
They made the Boston port.
By train
They went,
Through settled lands,
To end of tracks:
I’wa city.

There
Wagons were
To haul them on.
With
Meager wealth,
Uncertainties,
But
Hope alive,
They fin’ly came to Council Bluffs,
The
Gath’ring
Point.

The plan was set.
They
All
Would walk a thousand miles
Across the plains
And through the hills.
Their meager wealth
And food supplies
In handcarts haul.
“A Flower Bloomed,” p. 5

The handcart train,
With wheels
So frail
And box so small,
Set out
Too
Late;
The season spent,
Yet
Without choice,
They set out
West
Along the
Platte.

The men did
Pull;
The women
Pushed:
While children
Small
Did trudge along.
In sandy spots,
On stubborn hills,
Young men
Would help,
With shoulders
Push.

Yes,
He
Was there
Now twenty-one.
He’d crossed the sea,
Now
Walked the plains with Martin group,
Firth company:
An
Isaac
Strong
Of Wardle line.



Then
Mary
Small
Was only four.
Thus,
If he saw,
If her he knew,
She could have been
But nothing more than little girl
Upon the plains.

AND TRAGEDY!

They’d gone not far.
They yet
Were on Nebraska plain
When mother said,
“My time has come.”
Their
Hearts
Did
Break!
The baby died.
Their mother died!

Out on the plains,
Where winds did roar
And
Wild life ran,
They
Dug a grave,
A shallow trench,
And placed
Therein
The ones they loved
To wait Christ’s call.

Saints
Gathered round
Condolence grave,
“She’s now with God.”
And “You’ll make out.”
The handcarts rolled
And tears
Did stream down Mary’s cheeks
As on she trudged
“A Flower Bloomed,” p. 6

“Oh
Mother dear,
Why
Did you die?
The plain’s so broad
The trail’s so long:
Who’ll
Wash our clothes
And meals prepare;
Who’ll
Keep us safe
With
Ev’ning prayer?”

FOLLOWED BY HEARTBREAK:

Then
William
Felt
His loneliness.
In tears,
distraught,
His reason broke.
A desp’rate man,
He fled
The train,
Went back
To home
Across the sea.

“Oh,
Father dear,
Why
Did you go?
The home
We seek’s still
Far away.
Who’ll
Pull our cart;
Who’ll
Build our fire:
Who’ll
Tell us right
When we’re not sure?”
“Who’ll take them in?”
“They’re three lone girls.”
“Who’ll pull their cart?”
Saints
Took them in –
Sarah
Betsy,
And Mary too
Were taken in.

Soon
Mountains rose before their view.
The days of fall
Rushed
Quickly past
And
Winter’s blast
Came
Far too soon to cloak the land
With
Cold
And
Snow.

At
Old South Pass
Their
Movement
Stopped:
Crude shelters built
Gave little help.
They’d left so late that
They’d left so late that
They now stalled in drifts of snow
On sagebrush hills.

“Be not afraid,”
Some bravely said,
“We,
Brigham know;
He’ll send us food.”
But days passed on
And food ran short:
First one,
Then more,
Succumbed to death.
“A Flower Bloomed,” p. 7

The girls did watch
And shuddered
Hard
As shallow graves were gug about.
Unmarked,
The saints
Went
To their rest
As prayers
Went up,
“Lord,
Save us yet.”

THEN – ANOTHER LOST!

E’en
Betsy
Froze
Out on those hills.
She left but two:
Sarah Ellen was but seven
And Mary five;
Two girls
Alone
In winter cold

No
Flowers
Bloomed
Upon those hills,
And
Wintry blasts
Benumbed their hands;
But,
Deep
Within each little soul,
Each
Softly prayed,
“god, with us be.”





As Mary
Looked across the land,
Through drifting snow
With eyes near froze,
She saw out there
But
Gray of plains with gath’ring white
On hills of brown.

She looked about
And
Realized
The desert rose was far away,
For all she saw
Was
Barren land of sagebrush gray
And
Alkali.

The wagons
Came
That Brigham sent.
The little girls
Were
‘Mong the first
To taste
Of food
That nourished them.
Then
Saviors
Took them
To their goal.

Bedraggled
Girls
To Zion came,
Their parents
Gone,
Bewildered
Full.
What
Would they do?
Would they go?
Would e’er again
The
Flowers bloom
“A Flower Bloomed,” p. 8

But saints
Are saints.
They’ll try
Do right.
So they did care
And
Took them in:
But life was harsh
Scant time for care;
They
Oft’ were used
Much more
Than loved.

Thus
Mary lone
Passed through the years
As sisters two
Went sep’rate ways.
No mother dear
To bless at night;
No father’s hug
To hold her
Safe.

The little girl
Still
Hoped and dreamed
“Til
By sixteen
She’d found a role as mother’s aid
In Isaac’s home
To care,
Not bear,
His children there.

Was this the man,
The Handsome youth,
On ship she’d seen
As little girl,
Who
Pushed their cart when help required?
He was the one
Of Wardle name
Their clothes,
Their beds,
The dishes too;
She  cared for them;
She cared for them;
She struggled on.
The garden corn
Oft’ felt her hoe
As dawn to dusk
She
Labored through.

From charity,
Affection came,
And turned to love –
To fill
The need of lonely girl
With
Saddened heart,
Who’s
Lived alone
With people ‘round

The place
To work
‘Came place
To wed.
For Isaac asked –
She heard him say –
“ You’ll
Mary me;
Then here
You’ll live as one of us,
Love
Al around.

She was
His wife,
His second wife,
By nuptials
Joined and fully blessed
Through
Pow’r of God
By joint consent. Sealed
At the Church Endowment House.

“A Flower Bloomed,” p. 9

Fall colors passed.
The spring green came.
She found
Her place within their love.
She walked the lane,
His hand in hers,
Displayed
Her love
To Isaac dear.

One day
She knew
That she would have one of her own
To have his name.
Her joy was full
For now
She knew that Isaac’s true
She’d always be.

The winter blast’s
Ne’ver cooled
Their love.
No flowers bloomed
With colors bright,
But
Fields of white
Bespoke to her the purity
She’d
Give
Her child.

She
Sensed the joy
Her arms
Would hold.
Her eyes would spark
Then
Turn demure
As Isaac
Said.
“You’ll teach him well
His God
To love
Good works to do.”
She planned
The clothes for baby wear;
She thought
Of names
He well might bear.
He’d
Carry on the Ashton line
E’en though
He’d have a Wardle name.

Through passing months
She dreamed
And planned a life
That soon more full would be.
No more alone!
She’d hold him near –
Her blood -
Her child –
The
One
She’d
Rear.

The
Flowers
Bloomed
In April month of sixty-nine:
Bright buttercups
And
Indian paints.
The desert lands
And Mary’s heart
Came all a-glow.

THEN FINAL BLOW:
The baby lived;
The mother died!
When
At the gates of of happiness,
She left this world.
She’d
See no more the flowers bloom
When
Springtime
Came.

“A Flower Bloomed,” p. 10

What
Was her thought
In final breath
As life did ebb,
What
Did she think?
“From toil I’ free!”
Or could it be,
“My happiness
Denied to me.”

Might
She
Have
Screamed in anguished mind
As life drained out?
“Oh,
Wicked death,
Thou
Me
Hast stung
Just when my dawn first breaks
With rays
Of happiness.”

Dear God above,
Why
Did she die before her time?
She’d just
Begun her life to live.
Hard times
And grief
She’d put behind.
Her joy’d just come.

Then
She was gone!
She
Lived no more.
Her child was here,
But she’d not raise the William
Named for father lost.
She’ll never have
Her joy in life.
We mortals
Cannot understand
Why
Took You her in early life.
She’d lived
Without,
Been numbed
With grief;
Then
Took you her
Of joy deprived.

We’ll never know
In
Mortal life;
Though
Faith we’ll have
With hope alive;
But,
If she knows –
I b’lieve she does –
She’s
Seen the line
Through William come.

Three girls,
Eight boys,
With
Ten full grown
Grandchildren
Come to live their lives
And many more
Will be
Her seed throughout
The generations
Yet.

Bishops,
Clerks, Patriarch,
Presidents some
And couns’lors too
Teacher,
Workers
In Priesthood groups
As well as in
Auxiliaries.
“A Flower Bloomed,” p. 11

Missionaries
Her seed became
To teach,
Expound the Gospel full
Within the States,
In land afar,
As faith
Most kept
With Mary’s b’lief.

They all
Trace back
Through William lone,
The only one
Born
To that girl.
Mary Ashton
Bore him alone
Then went her way
To dwell above.

She
Waits the day,
Not far away,
When
All who b’lieve
And
True obey
Will
Gather ‘round
With fam’lies dear
To taste
With her
Eternal life

If
She came back
And talked to us,
Might not
She say
About that day in sixty-nine?
“I’d lived my life;
I’d had my teast;
My son was born;”
“ I
Briefly
Came on earth to live
I
Hoped
And
Dreamed;
I suffered much;
But,
Ne’ver forget,
Although
I died
And quietly lie in death’s repose.

“My flower bloomed,
And
Through its seed
Spread o’er the land –
And will spread more.
Yes, yes:
Yes, Yes:
My flower bloomed
That
April day
In sixty-nine.”

A
Flower
Bloomed
.
.
.
_________________________________
Completed on September 4, 1979
_________________________________

Mary Ashton Wardle was born in Stock-port, Cheshire, England, on 13 Jul 1851. She came to America on the ship “Horizon” and crossed the plains with the Martin Handcart Company in 1856. Her son William was born 5 Apr 1869. Mary died in South Jordan, Utah on 5 Apr 1869.

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