Today I was egret chasing once again when I wandered into the Clover Cemetery. This cemetery isn't a strange place to me as I have spent many summer days researching our genealogy. This cemetery is where my husband's great-great-great grandparents are buried. There are many McCoys in this cemetery which is now surrounded by apartments. Unfortunately, it has been more than time and weather that has started to destroy this old cemetery. Though I knew what I wanted to say in this poem, I wasn't sure what voice to use to write the poem.
"To allow the voice its chance to develop we have to listen as we write and encourage those words, phrases, lines, those rhythms and pauses, that clarify the text." Donald M. Murray, Crafting a Life in Essay, Story, Poem
|This picture taken by Gustafson (and housed at genealogy.net)|
in 2000. Compare with a picture I took today at the bottom
of this post.
Decades have passed
since families came here
to lay loved ones to rest.
Clergy searching for words of comfort,
tears streaming down faces,
as they said goodbye.
For years I rested here quietly watching
generations passing through my gates,
placing flowers near stones
attempting to mark
the significance of life once lived.
Family and loved ones visited,
to share stories,
to say prayers,
I have held their stories.
I have cradled their loved ones.
I have sheltered them.
The fields around me are gone,
replaced by rising buildings housing hundreds.
These people do not care who I am,
they do not pass through my gates
to pay their respects.
The nearby pond - manmade,
now sits at my side.
I watch the birds glide by,
the fisherman cast his pole,
the children play near the water,
but I am lonely.
No longer does anyone stop by with flowers.
No longer are stories whispered in my ear.
The stones marking the lives of many:
the farmer, the soldier, the mother -
no longer stand.
They have been damaged by carelessness.
Desecrated by those who care little about the past.
Though the rain and wind erases the names,
disregard pushes them over,
moves them far from their places.
What will become of me as I wait
to lift my stones toward the sky
to share my stories once again?
© Cathy L. Mere, 2012
|Clover Cemetery, April 24, 2012|