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Ballad Of Romona's Rose

This song is by Phil Keaggy.

For our darling baby of yesteryears

That's strange, he thought, as he mowed the lawn
Of his newly acquired home at the break of dawn
There's only one rose in this briar patch
That once was a garden of color and thatch

How could that single beauty still stand
Without any nourishment from this desert sand?
He paused for a moment to take a good look
At this magnificent rose only seen in a book

Its stunning beauty took his breath away
Reflecting the sun with the colors so gay
The stock stood rigid with a vivid green
Spiderous leaves with a glorious sheen

To protect the rose, he dug deep with his hands
Around the stalky base to loosen the sands
Digging revealed a large misshapen stone
Much too strange to be left all alone

His movements slowed and his brow became furrowed
With excitement rising the deeper he burrowed
Moving his shadow to obtain more light
The sun rays revealed a tombstone in sight

He had to know what the tombstone knew
So he quickened his pace and dug in with his shoe
Carefully, now, don't disturb the rose
Because somehow the flower was part of the prose

With one huge effort he lifted the stone
Wondering why he was there all alone
The headpiece seemed to be very very old
The engraving was weathered but still very bold

"For our darling baby," the first line read
What a beautiful way to speak of the dead
(Born January 26, 1906 - Died December 20, 1907)
"For our darling baby" of yesteryears
(Romona Keaggy Passed On to Heaven)
Born in full grace, now languishing in tears

Just two years of life in the Zuni mountains
In a logging camp of white pine and fountains
The marble headstone had one corner missing
But it must be returned to its place

With a pail of spring water and careful cleaning
He restored the stone to a pristine gleaming
The stone seemed to speak in a quiet way
Please find me a home, let me rest some day

He guarded the marker to be safe and secluded
Started searching the archives for some trace that eluded
To the history of such a beautiful child
That somehow perished in the mountainous wild

As the search continued he became somewhat fanatic
Hiding the marble in his littered attic
Conversing at length with his cherished stone
Promising Romona she would never be alone

A search of the archives finally revealed
Romona was buried in a Martineztown field
City of Albuquerque, New Mexico state
Where the Morning Journal reported the date

The stone had been stolen in years gone by
But later showed up in someone's yard on the sly
And there it rested for a decade or so
Forgotten and lonely, seasonally covered with snow

Cemetery records had been burned in a fire
So returning the old stone began to look dire
We must find Romona, we cannot lose hope
Turn to the church, or maybe turn to the Pope

With some desperation he looked up and prayed
"Please, Dear God, help find where she was laid
Help me find Romona and give us all peace
She must have her marker for this heartache to cease."

With the help of the Lord and many friends
He located records drawing close to the end
Of a journey to the sweet child's burial plot
In Santa Barbara Cemetery on an unkept lot

Romona, our child, had some peace at last
No longer a spirit that had lost its past
And the rose grew larger, and was in full bloom
When he held that service on a Sunday afternoon

With some desperation he looked up and prayed
"Please, Dear God, help find where she was laid
Help me find Romona and give us all peace
She must have her marker for this heartache to cease."

May you rest now dear.
May you rest now here.

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