Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Poetry Jam - RIP

At Poetry Jam today the prompt is to write about a graveyard.  Like many other people, I've always loved looking at headstones.  I enjoy finding members of my family, but I also like looking at other old headstones and reading their stories.  The older ones were so much more interesting than the "name and number" on the newer ones.  Anyway...I don't have much time today.  Stuff to do.  So, here's what I came up with this morning.  Looking forward to reading others  tomorrow!

R.I.P

Lying next to Hester
There is Reverend Brown
With their youngest daughter
Who was sadly drowned.
Neath the maple, John Dean
and his wives, all eight,
In the shade are resting
Dates on every slate.
Mary Jo and Edmund
married early on;
Sixty years together,
Ninety they've been gone.
Sickness took the Maynards;
Ocean swallowed ten,
All of them a’fishing,
Never seen again.
Bodies in the dust bin
Back to soil from soil
But now comes the question
Where will each soul toil?

©Donna JT Smith

27 comments:

  1. ah, i dont know that we can answer that last question....it is interesting the stories that live in the graveyards....you can understand a town by reading the stones...seeing when certain diseases rolled through....the impact it had...and even on lives...families...when many are taken at once.....our town had the largest per capita death toll on dday...thus we have the monument here....and it led to scattering...because so many men were gone...

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    1. It is always intriguing to me, the stories that you don't know, but made such an impact on the future.

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  2. I do like looking at headstones too. I took the photos of the Titanic loss headstones I shared in my poem. So many lives, so many stories. I do hope that each soul is in a good place. With Titanic losses, I would guess many died praying for just that.

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    1. What a tragic event that was. It is hard to imagine - and I don't like to imagine it!

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  3. I often wonder about the same thing when at cemeteries. You are very thoughtful.

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    1. I am taking a cleaning break... I swore I wouldn't sit down at the computer!
      There is just so much to think about and wonder about...

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  4. Cemeteries are interesting indeed. Cemeteries in a foreign country even more so. I like looking at the names, the dates, what other people have put on the graves. I liked the walk in this one with you.

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    1. The only foreign country cemeteries I've been too are in Canada - Halifax and then in some small cemeteries in Newfoundland while searching out ancestors. Newfoundland had very interesting old graveyards set on granite ledge....I'm not sure anyone could really be buried in some of the spots!

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  5. We have a beautiful graveyard near our school & I've taken students to write and research the names & dates in the oldest parts of the cemetery. You've told a good story here, Donna, & those gravestones do tell, especially when a family's children are lined up during a flu epidemic or something like that.

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    1. I always wonder if they were sick with something we could easily have cured nowadays. So many here, of course, were lost at sea fishing in small boats or aboard large vessels that sank. It's such a good exercise to teach in a cemetery. The history and the appreciation for life cannot get any more real there.

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  6. i found John Dean to be an interesting character here....hope they are all resting in peace...it's amazing how a graveyard reflects life...a wonderful write Donna....

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    1. Though good old John was made up, there were so many with multiple wives due to death from influenza or childbirth on those old cemeteries.

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  7. i find it strangely peaceful to walk in the cemetery near where i live... feeling into the lives that were... and enjoyed wandering through yours here as much

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    1. A cemetery makes a wonderful place to walk and ponder the lives that were.

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  8. I like the small stories suggested by the headstones. And yes that final question.

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  9. I don't think this is probably your best poem, but I loved this one.
    It's whimsy in the face of death.

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    1. I didn't want to go all serious on this, and I had 20 minutes available to write...ta dah...whimsy in the face of death!

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  10. When I was a child, my mother would take us kids to the cemetery to "freshen up" the graves with new bedding plants. And while she worked away, she would tell the most fascinating, funny stories about that departed relative. It was wonderful - one of my favorite childhood memories. Such a sense of bonding with her - and with the past.

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    1. What a wonderful way to honor those relatives and keep the memories alive! I believe more parents should be taking their kids to cemeteries so they had an appreciation for and an understanding of their place in our histories.

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  11. This is wonderfully penned and thought provoking. Graveyards certainly hold much mystery.

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    1. They seem like family puzzles to me. So many unknowns, but a story for each.

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  12. The fascination of lives lived and the experience they knew. Great poem.

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    1. Thanks, Alan. I am awed by the idea that there are so many people, I will never know, and so many that have passed - all with lives that were extraordinary in their own way - but no story is recorded.

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  13. sometimes it seems we toil enough on this soil... perhaps we'll earn rest, finally ~

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  14. I really like this one...fun to read and a great question at the end

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  15. Visiting cemeteries gives us insight into past ages and windows into lives of people long dead. It may be only fragmentary glimpses, but it is enough to allows to develop a sense of kinship and share the commonality of human existence with them. Godo poem, Donna!

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