Friday, February 20, 2009

My Kind Of Tombstone

My boys have become very interested in the cycle of life lately and since I've been known to feed my kids Doritos for breakfast, it's no surprise that I've indulged them in their latest whim: cemetery hopping. We've been to 3 in the past couple of weeks, staying half an hour or so, walking through all the graves, answering their questions:

"He was 77 when he died."

"They're married and the woman isn't dead yet."

"That one is small because it's a baby."

"Sometimes the doctors can't fix them."

"Get down from there!"

"Stop climbing on that!"

"Don't touch that!"

"Put that back!"

Most of the headstones were pretty conventional but I came across one that referenced Emily Dickinson. Did you know that when I was in college, I kept a print of her in a frame on my desk? Yep. I did. We were BFF's--until I discovered Auden--but I still love those Dickinsonian dashes.

Because I could not stop for Death by Emily Dickinson


Because I could not stop for Death –
He kindly stopped for me –
The Carriage held but just Ourselves –
And Immortality.

We slowly drove – He knew no haste
And I had put away
My labor and my leisure too,
For His Civility –

We passed the School, where Children strove
At Recess – in the Ring –
We passed the Fields of Gazing Grain –
We passed the Setting Sun –

Or rather – He passed Us –
The Dews drew quivering and Chill –
For only Gossamer, my Gown –
My Tippet – only Tulle –

We paused before a House that seemed
A Swelling of the Ground –
The Roof was scarcely visible –
The Cornice – in the Ground –

Since then – 'tis Centuries – and yet
Feels shorter than the Day
I first surmised the Horses' Heads
Were toward Eternity –

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23 comments:

  1. Not your ordinary tombstone. Wonder what the person was like.

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  2. I.LOVE.HER

    one more thing we have in common! I have a very worn copy of her collected works.

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  3. Oh, wow! I totally remember studying that poem in High School. Good choice!
    PS- I bet Emily would like Doritos too. Something just tells me she would.

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  4. OMG! You are hilarious! I just read through a bunch of your posts, and you had me cracking up at the reasons why you are a bad mom, and the nostril conversation!!

    Thanks for coming by my blog, even though it was a little gross this morning!

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  5. I've always loved that poem.

    I am fascinated by cemeteries, tombstones...all of it. I work at our local, public cemetery part time - it is interesting. I always want to stop at them when we are traveling (not everyone indulges me)...I also like to stop at public libraries when traveling. :)

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  6. I love old cemetaries. I think it is the history or trying to imagine what people's lives were back 150 years ago.

    We toured 4 old cemetaries around Halloween in an old mining town and it was really cool.

    Oh yeah and the old cemetary in Glenwood Springs where Doc Holliday is buried.

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  7. That is a pretty cool headstone. When I was in Savannah last year I went to the Midnight in the garden of good and evil cemetary and They had some really unique ones!!!! Have a great weekend!!

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  8. I like the history of cemeteries. Honestly though cemeteries just seem kind of weird to me. Why would people want to be buried in the ground in the same area as a bunch of other people?

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  9. Have you heard? Today is Day 1 of the Where in the World is Wenda? Contest. Head over to Three Bay B Chicks and Hot Chocolate Caramel Mocha to join in the fun. Can’t wait to see you there!

    -Wenda

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  10. Day 2 of the Where’s Wenda? Contest is here. Today, I am visiting all of the SITStas that commented on Hot Chocolate Caramel Mocha. That means you! Thanks so much for stopping by and for being a great SISta! -Wenda

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  11. Beautiful! I love love love cemeteries! You can really learn so much in them! My kids love them too.

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  12. very timely post foe me since my mother in law is dying at age 89, and she is litterally withering....i love anyone who can turn a good verse, and that includes you ali....

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  13. I love that you indulge your kids in their whims...doritos for b-fast and cemeteries...even if it is a bit macabre! :)

    You seem like a really good mom!

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  14. Day 3 of the Where’s Wenda? Contest is here. Today I am visiting all of the SITStas that commented on Three Bay B Chicks. That means you! Thanks so much for stopping by and for being a great SISta!

    -Wenda

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  15. Emily Dickinson...nice. I love the way you easily introduce us all to some culture every week.
    Not sure about the name on the tombstone though!

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  16. Hi Ali,

    Emily Dickinson, very nice. I love the way you so easily introduce us to some culture each week.It often makes me look at new authors or poets too.
    Wasn't sure about the name on the tombstone though! Wasn't ready for that. Food for thought though!

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  17. Truly fine. -From another shade devotee

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  18. You feed your kids doritos for breakfast? and take them cemetary hopping...that's pretty funny. have a good day

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  19. you just get more and more awesome.

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Thanks for commenting!