Friday, December 23, 2011
In the Cemetery at the Winter Solstice
Yesterday heralded in the Winter Solstice – the first day of winter, the shortest day, and the longest night of the year. It is a day celebrated all over the world in many different ways.
In ancient times, Winter Solstice festivals were the last celebrations held before the deep, hard winter began. There was plenty of food and wine, for now, – and hopes that all would survive the coming famine months until spring arrived again.
It seems only fitting that we spend a few moments at this time of year in quiet reflection in the cemetery. As the snow falls silently around us, our thoughts turn to life and death, to the past and the future, to what we’ve lost and what we’ve gained. These poems seem to sum up those sentiments especially well.
In Beechwood Cemetery
Disturbs them ever, and no storm dismays.
Winter mid snow caresses the tired ground,
And the wind roars about the woodland ways.
Springtime and summer and red autumn pass,
With leaf and bloom and pipe of wind and bird,
By them unfelt, unheeded and unheard.
Our centuries to them are but as strokes
In the dim gaunt of some far-off chime.
Unaltering rest their perfect being cloaks
A thing too vast to hear or feel or see Children of Silence and Eternity,
They know no season but the end of time.
~ Archibald Lampman
An Old Cemetery
No one dares stray here.
They would never desire to,
Unless the earth covers what they hold dear.
Bodies sleep subconsciously
In the presence of their God,
Singing silent songs that decompose,
Under the wild earth their restless souls trod.
Reflecting the white aurora’s glow.
Memories play like broken records,
Trapped inside, echoing lethargic tones.
The world’s slow spin cradles them to sleep.
Heavy eyelids come to rise no more.
A thousand sunsets dwindle and pass
Lives that mortality ripped and tore.
~ Jana Rininger
This poem was written by a teenage author, only identified as swoopingpigeons from New York at http://www.teenink.com/poetry
Snow on Cemetery Stones
They fall in endless tandem
Hiding her unveiled cruelty.
In winter’s months when all is bare,
No flowers to distract looking eyes,
We see the gravestones wearing away
And the remainder of unfinished good-byes,
In the words once legible.
‘Will’ who preferred ‘William’
Is now ‘Wil’ with one ‘L’ left alive.
And what of the rest of us
Who walk the world still,
Will she shroud our names in supposed beauty,
And leave all that we are
To become all that we once were.
And one of my winter favorites! Although not written about a cemetery, the woods also offer that forlorn feeling of the unexpected and the unfinished.
Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
~ Robert Frost
And now the season is at a close - Happy Holidays to you and yours!!