Late afternoon wanes across the chilling hillside
As church bells peal for another hour passed
Deep and resonating, high and hopeful
Delivering me to the ironic memory of a childhood song
Are you sleeping?
There are many who sleep here
Beneath an army of perfectly rowed stones
Under a frozen earth
And I walk among their markers
Wondering how little is revealed
In the front of the yard, reverence begets silence
As visitors in suits wear their grief cut fresh
Like the flowers and wreaths in their arms
The voices here are no more than murmurs
While the dead are still comforted by living memories
In the back, where shadows stretch long
Across the frost-bitten blades
And mossy fingers reach
To obscure what time has not crumbled
Quiet gives way to a crescendo of history
Dates and names are all that remain
For those who fail to listen
Yet a brush of flesh across cold stone
Of a story that needs to be told
Here lies John Plourde, b. 1801 d. 1847
Then the writing dies silent
A man of wife and children, speak those buried alongside him
And a man, perhaps, with the grace to cherish
The gifts that lay before him in death as in life
Deeper into the shadows of the past, others beg for attention
A wife and husband who joined each other here, days apart
A child who lived short, but loved long
A woman delivered in her prime, kept company by her parents
Then questions slowly overcome stories and suppositions
Did they know true love?
Was he defined by his kindness, his friendship?
Did she achieve her dreams and goals?
Did they learn to accept life’s little twists in blissful happiness?
Were they missed?
Each voice, each question and answer bombards me as I pass
Knowing what the living often cannot, what the living often ignore
Our future is held in our past, our past in our future
And in both, there is only one question that will matter when we exist no more
What will our story tell?
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