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.

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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.

The Stars


The stars are cold and shiver,
Dripping raindrops of light
On the cemetery,
Bathing the headstones
Silver and luminous.
The silver lights spread and cover
The feet of those who tread here,
Pondering the night and the light
And what it is that
Makes the stars shiver.

Baby Elaine


Baby Elaine
Beneath the cedar tree
Exactly three months old
Just a square of concrete
Is all we can behold.

God places little flowers here
With His almighty hand
As if a gift to all below
Who on the black road stand.

“Gone to a better land”
With a lamb crudely carved
Was all they could afford
When in 1932
The whole land starved.

A blanket of soft green grass
Caresses those feet that tread
A comfort to those who wait,
Still living here, for bread.

Grey And Pink


A plain all now green
Makes a mockery of me.
Shoots and new leaves of grass
Little flowers newly yellow
They come over me,
In my white marble abode.
How dare they encroach on me here!
The sun, oh that’s fine,
but new greenness divine?
I’m here, can’t you see,
Mourn me! I’m here
And you’re there; I’m
Grey and you’re pink.
Please, please, stop beside me
And think!

My Baby


Oh baby, my baby!
Only six small days old!
You’re the littlest one here,
Only blue among those
Long pallid and grey

One small rectangle
For a pillow, at least
You’ve a warm blanket of leaves,
The trees are lulling a song
With the wind that blows white
There now your head’s uncovered,
And you can see our sky
It’s blue right now
Do you remember blue?
And I’ve come to
See you, my baby,
And us sit here together

You’ve got to stay here, my baby,
I’ve got to leave you here alone
Don’t cry for me, my baby,
My little Curtis, dear;
I’ve left my heart behind me
To keep you warm through tears.