Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Monday, April 25, 2011
by Ariana Uding
Carved A dot P dot
Son of Anton and Anna
Surname, no first name
Spots of mud and moss
In the tree’s shade you’ve rested
And will for all days
Close enough to smell
Bright enough to call the sun
Too far for a touch
Lonesome in your rest
Next to you lays mystery
Bones lay next to bones
Aging over tombstone but
Letters left untouched
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Monday, April 18, 2011
How do people choose what goes on their tombstones? Do they sit down with a pen and paper one day and say, “I want an etching of something significant and a list of the relationships I’ve had and the family I’m no longer going to see.” How do people make that choice?
Julia A. Schaeffer. Julia has a rather lively display marking her resting place. Well, as lively as tombstones can get. A short, stout cross bearing her name standing on a pedestal, rosary beads etched into the stone. On the opposite side there are no beads, there is only a train. The surviving relatives: brothers, sisters, parents, one can only assume, have placed some of their own memorials around the grave. Roses, an angel with a faded painting of a garden adorning its robe: all objects with personal significance which mere visitors will never fully understand.
1964-2004. Julia was only 40 when she died. Did she have warning of it? Could she sit down and plan the designs, quotes, and etchings out? Or was it sudden? Was her family left to struggle with the phrases and pictures that would be seen by any and all visitors? Was her family charged with the task of deciding how she would be remembered?
How do people choose what goes on their tombstones? No matter how we choose, the etchings will become weathered and fade away. All we can tell is that someone is here. Name, age, likes, dislikes, none of that will register. We probably won’t even register that there were likes and dislikes or care about the name. All we’ll know is that the symbols someone chose to adorn their resting place with are gone. The choice of what they would be, ultimately, did not matter.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Monday, April 11, 2011
by John Thornburg
John Woods. You were okay
Saints keep the resting place
a green topography of slopes
and crosses leaned, the cold of graves
lie in rows like trees.
Maybe you were glad
when Emma rejoined you
47 years is a drive, John
I know she told you all about 1969
and Neil Armstrong, World War II
If it was 1900 and I was 20 years old
maybe I wouldn't have this feeling
like there are plastic flowers
on my grave.
Friday, April 8, 2011
How fitting, considering that it is Admitted Student Weekend, as well as the weekend of the Writing Center Fellowship competition. It can be hoped that all visiting students are served well by these events.
- Ben B '13
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Monday, April 4, 2011
by Amber Caylor
I pull my sweater tight around me to prevent the cool morning from sneaking inside. The chill nips at my cheeks and nose, but it’s still early. The sun promises to warm the air around me. At the entrance to the cemetery, the tombstones are large and beautifully crafted, but I pass by them, trekking down the hill to the older part of the cemetery.
The older sections of cemeteries are always my favorite. They are full of lost stories of the people resting in the earth, joined by all those who knew and loved them. Sometimes even the engravings on the stones have been worn away, leaving those resting there nameless to this world.
I try my best to avoid walking on the graves. Many people don’t bother, but I was always taught that it was disrespectful to stand above where someone has permanently been laid to rest. The newer section is easy to get through, with tombstones in clear rows. Once I get to the older part of the cemetery, avoiding them becomes more difficult. They don’t line up to make paths, so I nearly trip weaving through them. Many of these older graves are from the early 1900s, with the names still easily read. I decide to plop down in a stretch of grass.
The cemetery is so peaceful and, strangely, alive. Golden flowers are in bloom, the grass vibrantly green, and I hear cows mooing in the distance. I usually picture cemeteries as dark, creepy, full of shadows and straight out of a horror film. This is not that place. This isn’t a place of death. It’s a place to celebrate life.
I look at the tombstones near me and see a small, flat one that simply says, “MOTHER.” The woman’s name, date of birth and date of death are a mystery. The weather hasn’t worn away the engravings; her loved ones simply chose to memorialize her as Mother, leaving off everything else.
Initially, this lack of name saddens me. Names are so connected with our identities that without them, we don’t know ourselves. This woman lies nameless in the ground, lacking an identity. Perhaps her tombstone is simple because the family didn’t have enough money for something more detailed.
Yet, I probably understand this woman better than if her name had been emblazoned on the stone. I know she was a mother. Every day she loved and cared for her children. I can imagine her tucking them into bed under a warm, heavy quilt and making them pancakes and bacon in the morning. Her family thought of her as such a wonderful mother that they chose to remember her for eternity as mother and nothing else. For her, mother is her identity, not her name.
Today, I attempt to capture a piece of someone’s story. It’s only a minuscule piece of a mother I never knew, but I remembered her. I thought of her. She was not forgotten.
Friday, April 1, 2011
The perfect cup of coffee eludes me.
There is no coffee at the pump,
nor is there any in the carafe,
and it is too early to even think of the word
It takes me five minutes and twenty-three seconds
to make the coffee,
but I need to fill the sugar in the meantime.
There's no milk in the fridge,
so thick, syrupy cream must do.
Someone jacked my mug a week ago,
so one of the twenty-five cent
Goodwill mugs must service.
My sub-par cup of coffee,
cradled between anatomically incorrect sea turtles
and a whale with a lazy eye
will have to do.
Another fun Poem is just titled Poem, by Grant Stevens. It speaks to us from 9pm on Monday.
P is for the Pie I eat.
O is for the Orchid Forms
E is for the Energy I feel.
M is for the moment when
the orchid forms are done
and I eat pie
and am energized.
These and more can be found on the pillar just inside the Writing Center, and there are even more on Moodle that will probably find their way here in the future. This has been an interesting sort of project for consultants, and in my experience, we would enjoy similar projects in the future.
- Ben B. '13