Wisdom Response : My gift back in time

BUNKY'S BURDEN, Painter Bruce Ley

BUNKY'S BURDEN, Painter Bruce Ley

an improbable conversation between artist, painting,

observer, Jarena Lee and all the many others

He hands it to me in silence,

As though I will understand

But I do not.

He takes it back, in silence,

And then returns,

The colours changed, lighter, what is carried more feminine.

‘Bunky’s Burden’, he says.


Bunky is his sweet name for me – Bunky as in bunk mate.

And what is the burden he sees me bear but this enormous heart?

I asked him if it was mine or his or all the worlds

And he replied, ‘Yes.’


It is carried in the age old manner of women carrying clay pots of water,

Nourishment for their village, sustenance for their families,


I have seen these women.

I have sat and watched them in many places, dazed by their beauty and strength.

They are a rainbow of colours brown and black and yellow and red,

Their fortitude glistening, their eyes dark jewels.


And here, so many miles apart, I am painted with my own clay pot,

This great love for humanity beating, bleating, full of life.

Who shall drink from it?

How shall I pour it out?

Who will know its refreshment?

I know not.

But I carry it anyway,

Hoping I have the resilience I have seen in those coloured faces so unlike my own,

And so beloved.


What burden did you carry, Jarena, that led you to the water’s edge,

That dangled a rope like pretty ribbon before you?

Such joy for us all that you did not stoop to the water, 

Or reach into the air, 

But bore your burden as gift, your strength as offering.

When I choose my scripture passage this week, 

I will remember you,

And remember that you could not.


We are priestesses all, with our burden and our beauty.

And we offer life.

a white girl's gift of scripture in song -

handy having a blues guitarist in the recording studio who thinks he is black

(you can have those kind of fantasies when you are adopted)