An Hour at a Cemetery

Posted: April 6, 2014 in cemeteries, nature, spirits, spirituality, Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,

A lovely “yay! Persephone has awoken and spring is here”- day. So did I go to a park? Stroll down the city streets to window shop? Why, no. I jumped into my clothes and headed to the nearby cemetery.

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As I wandered about, I was struck by a statue of what appeared to be of a statue of Buddha. This being a Christian cemetery, I found its inclusion interesting and quite lovely.

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My gaze then turned to the next plot and while reading the headstone, my heart sank. I was reading the epitaph for a child who’d died in 2007 at the age of seven. Included on the headstone was a photograph of a smiling, chubby-faced little boy. I won’t include that photo for sensitivity reasons and respect to his family who might not want his name and face made public in such a way. But here is a picture of another little stone included at his site:

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(“In Memory of a Wonderful Person”)

While I’m certainly no stranger to the reality of young lives being cut way too short, coming face to face with it (so to speak) by such a terse, elegant statement hit me hard. AFter paying my respects, I moved on, walking about until another gravesite called me over to it. It was a joint plot for a husband and wife, born 1897 and 1898, respectively. Both had been doctors. Then I noticed the little grave beside them. It was of their child who’d they lost at only one years- old. No other children were mentioned or buried by them so I was left to wonder if they hadn’t been able to have any more, or had purposely refrained so not to possibly face such pain again.

I wandered on, reading more headstones, noting the sites left bare, and others adorned with fresh flowers. The tended graves and the ones with overgrown weeds. Even though the graves of the children stayed with me, I left that day with a feeling of peace and gratefulness.

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Sonnet 98

by William Shakespeare (1609)

“From you have I been absent in the spring
When proud-pied April, dress’d in all his trim,
Hath put a spirit of youth in every thing,
That heavy Saturn laugh’d and leap’d with him.
Yet nor the lays of birds, nor the sweet smell
Of different flowers in odour and in hue,
Could make me any summer’s story tell,
Or from their proud lap pluck them where they grew:
Nor did I wonder at the lily’s white,
Nor praise the deep vermilion in the rose;
They were but sweet, but figures of delight,
Drawn after you, you pattern of all those.
Yet seem’d it winter still, and you away,
As with your shadow I with these did play.”

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Comments
  1. Ken says:

    Neat.

    I know this will seem sacrilegious and deserving of scorn, but I used to write in a local cemetery, from the 1700’s. Just a small one, a hundred square feet or so. Might I recommend you try something of the sort yourself, within vicinity of the Buddhist statue perhaps.

    Shameful suggestion to be sure 😉

  2. Hiya Ken,

    Always great to hear from you.

    I think you know you won’t receive any scorn from me. 😉

    I haven’t actually written in the cemetery, but that’s only because I have a difficult time writing anywhere which is public. I have taken notes down, however.

    I do love the notion of it. And now you have made me want to head out there with my trusty pen and paper. 🙂

    You may also be interested to know that before public parks, it was common to have picnics in cemeteries.

  3. D. D. Syrdal says:

    Wonderful photos, love the one of the statue of the woman. I like the Buddhist presence, too.

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with writing in a cemetery or graveyard. Many people like to visit graveyards for all kinds of reasons (I know someone who likes to visit the graves of celebrities, which I’m sure is not uncommon).

  4. Thank you, DD! Glad you liked the pictures.

    And exactly. Cemeteries are so beauiful and peaceful. People go to them for many different reasons. It’s funny how many people I’ve met who start a subject of conversation with, “You’re probably going to find this weird, but I really find it relaxing to walk through cemeteries.”

    The stereotypes are so off. (per usual)

  5. Beautiful poem and lovely photos. Last week I too was at a grave yard with a friend. He know that I am not the typical photographer who like always a nice scenic area plus it is one of the most popular place for photographers. Sad to say I get mad when I see photographer have models modeling all over someone grave. Don’t get me wrong the art of it is nice and nice that the environment is real but in my opinion I find it disrespecting like dancing or using the bathroom on someone grave. My friend and I at the grave yard I speak about found a cool spot that is beautiful. You can’t tell it is in a graveyard and no one crave is being disrespected.

    I too find it interested reading the stones, seeing how many years a person died from each other, learning about the Greek last name (the wife last name is spell differently..it does not have an s a the end of something like that), the nice fresh flowers on top of the grave, and what family member bring in each time as the season change for their love one to celebrate the season or holiday with them. Quite beautiful I must agree.

  6. Hi there Lora,

    Thanks! Pleased you like the photos, and the poem I selected.

    hmm. I was thinking about what you wrote. I think for me, it would come down to whether the photos were tastefully done or not.

    And thanks for mentioning the Greek last names. You just tuaght me something new. 🙂

  7. Ken says:

    Nice cemetery overall. The ones here are rather congested. Not much room. So few trees. Just rows and rows of headstones stretching for miles. Still interesting to wander thru. The one I mentioned is an exception. It’s very old. Periodically it gets cleaned up. Most of the time it’s overgrown with weeds, but does have several nice trees with an atmosphere all its own. You take what you can get.

    Good one to you and the congenial contributors here 🙂

  8. Ken,

    That old cemetery by you sounds lovely.

    Wishing you a good day as well. 🙂

  9. Stephen Thom says:

    This was lovely to read, reflective and elegiac 🙂 felt v peaceful afterwards 🙂

  10. sputnitsa says:

    Beautiful!!!! Can’t believe this is the first time I’m seeing this post!

    I love these spaces…

  11. Sputsie!

    Well you’ve been rather busy with a certain Bard of late. So I’ll forgive thee. 😉

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