Two Cemetery Poems

Rural Cemetery

And now the sunlight fades and the chilly
Air grows grey and thin, there is nothing but
Loss in here. The stones themselves, eroded
Beyond all hope of knowing who might be
Buried beneath them, show only smoothed out
Blankness to the falling twilight. Their dead
Are no longer missed by the living, their
Dead have been dead too long, their mourners died
And took every memory away from here.
These ghosts cannot hope the living will care;
The living don’t know about them. Outside
This graveyard the world goes on, every year
And nothing of these people’s lives remain,
Except stones no one can read. What a shame.

Thoughts Upon Entering Stella Cemetery

I hate graves. They make people think that they
Are somehow entitled to say the name
Of strangers buried below who are not
Entitled to distance. Or privacy.
That someone reading out engraved birthdays
Has a right to them, and can make a game
Of having some insight into what
Sort of people the dead are. As if we

(Once dead) can be captured simply by the dates
We lived between and what we were called. Fate’s

Nasty final shot—to have our lives be
Reduced to virtual meaninglessness and
Then have that be the last thing left around,
Vaguely worded and indestructible,
For random people to see. As if we
Crave that they know about us. Who would plan
To be remembered with such unprofound
Yet indelible text? Impersonal

Epitaphs defining some past obscure
Lives, explaining to strangers that we were

Called this, we were born then… and nothing else?
Nothing about any thing that matters?
People come by, read them aloud, blink, cough,
Move on. I hate that. Let my stone crumble
Apart in heavy winter, become dust
That cannot be articulated. Worse
Than ruined: spray painted, vandalized, chipped off,
So strangers can’t read my grave. So people

I won’t know leave my name silent, obscure,
Inaccessible. Unsaid anymore.

Published by Juleigh Howard-Hobson

Juleigh Howard-Hobson’s work has appeared in many places, including Think Journal, Able Muse, Third Wednesday, War Literature & The Arts, Consequence, The Lyric, and The Tishman Review. She is a Million Writers “Notable Writer”, has won the ANZAC Award and the Alfred, and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, the Best of the Net and a Rhysling; her fifth and most recent formalist book is Our Otherworld (Red Salon Press). ,

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: