To Share A Name With The Dead


To Share A Name With The Dead

I went today to a cemetery grey
And upon a tombstone saw
My own name.

She was a Scotswoman
Had surname of Bradburn
But our “Caroline” was there
To stand beneath the lichen.

The ghost of Novembers-yet-to-come
Whirled me upon its wings
I stood wild-eyed and dumb
And lay beneath the grave.

I saw through the earth
Like a brown transparency
Saw my family gathered
Together, but changed.

My beloved mother to my right
Reposed, and there my father tarried
Shrunken and white and wise
After straining against his age.

I cried when I saw my husband come
His face looked twice his age
He laid a wreath of white upon my head
And tears came from his eyes.

Then with a gasp my breath returned
And I in the cemetery stood.
The wind caressed, the clouds conversed
And my heart within me burned.

Since that day the years-yet-to-be
Have followed me apace
I have learned to love more deeply
To care profoundly and not erase.

I do not wish to live with unseeing view
Of eternity and those around me, the all and the few.
I remove self, put love in its stead
For I share a name with the dead.

To Share A Name With The Dead


A dorm of college students sits
Not a thousand feet away
While Contemplation sits at their door
And waits and waits and waits.

I went today to a cemetery grey
And upon a tombstone saw
My own name.

She was a Scotswoman
Had the surname of Bradburn
But our “Caroline” was there
To stand beneath the lichen.

The ghost of Novembers-yet-to-come
Whirled me upon its wings
I stood wild-eyed and dumb
And lay beneath the grave.

I saw through the earth
Like a brown transparency
Saw my family gathered
Together, but changed.

My beloved mother to my right
Reposed, and there my father tarried
Shrunken and white and wise
After straining against his age.

I cried when I saw my husband come
His face looked twice his age
He laid a wreath of white upon my head
Tears of brine came from his eyes.

Then with a gasp my breath returned
And I in the cemetery stood.
The wind caressed, the clouds conversed
And my heart within me burned.

I do not wish to live with unseeing view
Of eternity and those around me, the all and the few.
I remove self and put love in its stead
For I share a name with the dead.

Sharpisia


When I was in seventh grade, my friend Kelsey and I loved Sharpies. Between us, we had every color under the rainbow—and then some! Oh, we had the usual ones like blue, red, and black, but then there were the super-ninja ultra-tastic colors! Kiwi, magenta, rain shower, boysenberry, dandelion, and lilac sent us into giggle fits so profound that we once were asked to leave class and stand in the hallway until we had resolved ourselves to somber schoolwork.

Sharpie covered everything in seventh grade. We scribbled notes to each other, dotted the desks, drew in the flyleaves of our books, and highlighted our neighbors’ hair. Kelsey and I were joint queens of Sharpisia, each color having a different place in the royal court or in society. Whenever we bored of the subject matter, we neglected the teacher’s lecture and gaily proceeded to coat our binders with multiple layers of the stuff. When we got tired of one color, another appeared, still sticky to our hands on the plastic, at the price of another fruitless class period. Sharpie was the all-purpose tool. Notes, letters, illustrations, projects—Sharpies showed their worth in all of them. The mighty Sharpie could even be used as a hammer.

Not that we didn’t learn anything in classes. We learned, as every student does in seventh grade, that Davy Crockett died at the Alamo, pi equals 3.14, and what the word “puberty” really means. As funny as it may sound, getting in trouble with Kelsey for covering each other’s arms with Sharpie in the back of the class is, to this day long after graduation, one of my favorite memories. Getting in trouble that time was actually worth it.

Just a little mucking about with the prompt a prof gave us. I ran out of time when I wrote this; it’s nothing too serious, although it could be. Suggestions?

Caroline