Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Poetry Thursday – The Bone Yard

I’m extremely fortunate to have a large picture window where I work. My office overlooks an eight-lane highway, which is adjacent to an absolutely gorgeous cemetery with huge ancient trees and very old stones. The contrast between the highway and the cemetery is mesmerizing – and so I lost myself again in this “in-between” place for a while last Saturday. All the while thinking about the contrast – life flying by at sixty miles an hour, while only five feet away beyond the fence, a pastoral scene of death shepherded into untidy rows. And then, of course, I couldn’t help wondering if the dead had forgiven themselves, their loved ones, mankind – whether they had practiced forgiveness in life, or whether they ever knew what difference it makes. My daydream and meditations produced the following poem.

The cemetery in this photo is located in Worm, Germany. (I'd die for a view like this!!)

The Bone Yard

How abruptly this world ends
against your fence it swiftly stops
and everywhere the grasses bend
as mourners pace the coffin tops

In this place where time stands still
and ancient trees they grow unchecked
their boughs arch verdantly but still
they shadow those whose lives are wrecked

Swallowed by this hallowed ground
these worn out souls lie undigested
learn the meaning of repose
and in the end indeed are wrested

Rows of unforgiven souls
all casualties of life and love
escaped the world through these dark holes
and scarred the ones they left above

Do not wait till life has ended
as so many buried yet
and to the grave with wounds un-mended
like old men who breathe regret

Dennis Tkon Copyright 2007


Brian said...

I believe that God forgives all, it is we frail humans who do all the damage to our souls.

Thanks for the kind comments.

Regina Clare Jane said...

Dennis- thanks for visiting me. This resonates for me, and I wish it didn't. I'd rather have my dad back... but one thing he said to me was "don't wait too long"- which echoes your words in your last stanza.
And the forgiveness part- that's all about us.
Thanks for this...

jillypoet said...

There is something about cemetaries, especially old ones, that always draws me in. I really like the lines "mourners pace the coffin tops" and "in the end indeed are wrested." The formal way you wrote this echoes the "formality" of the notion of death, yet your language captures the "unrest" and "unknown." Nice job!

Novel Nymph said...

I was once reading a book called Losing Julia, and the protagonist was an old man with a very young mind. He knew that his family was waiting for him to die, and he could see the way his grandchildren looked at him...

Your poem reminds me of that because people see things only on the surface. Not always what is beneath--in this case quite literally!

Remiman said...

Thank you for syopping by and commenting.

Cemeterys are a favorite place for me to reflect, meditate and photograph.

The idea of making peace before you are laid to rest is well stated here. A vivid reminder that are no second chances.

Natalie said...

I love the play on words Dennis with 'wrested'. The rhythm creates a flow which is ironically contrasted by the subject matter. x

Poet with a Day Job said...

That's a great ending stanza, Dennis - I like it as a directive for reader and poet alike! I also love the "old time" line inversions to hit the rhymes - it's what "the greats" always did...what made them great!

Ps: awesome bone yard photo...

L. Monique said...

I almost want to call this poem lovely for its subtle images. It's got such a serene tone for its subject matter and even your word choice. I like how the tone of the poem changes as well in that last stanza. I can't say exactly how, though. You took a sometimes uncomfortable subject matter and make a lovely poem out of it. Thanks for sharing this week!

G said...

Dennis, I love the photo and the solemn tone of the poem. Cemeteries cannot help but fascinate, and it's a good thing that they inspire, too. Best wishes to you!

January said...

I like the end rhymes in the poem. And the first stanza really sets the pace for the rest of the piece. Nice job!

Rethabile said...

How does one clap on a web page?

This is fodder for reflection, both artistic and spiritual. Bravo.

Your answers to the meme on my page were very informative.

Alex aka Gypsy Girl said...

I like this poem very much, Dennis. At first, I was a bit set back by the subject matter. But your words and flow were so sophisticated, that I was drawn into every line and awed by how deeply you thought this through. Thank you!

Alex aka Gypsy Girl said...

And I agree w/ Rethabile! We need a clapping button on blogger :)

madd said...

Dennis..I knew by just reading your beginning of this post that you would come up with something to spend time reading again and again..the last stanza the one to be read over and over to cause action..as for the previous poem..oh my what can I say..thanks for sharing such a part of yourself with us..thanks for the visit as well..it feels good to be back..well sort of, so busy but had to write and visit..been missing you all..hope you had a wonderful holiday with you family and friends..m

Dennis said...

Thank you everyone who stopped by again this week. It’s always so wonderful to share with you and receive your thoughts, feelings and comments. I couldn’t ask for a better bunch of friends. Lots of love!

Anonymous said...

Hi Dennis, (I'm writing from "anonymous" because I switched to the new e-blogger and am having infinite trouble with it.

Carol Anne

Thanks for visiting my site. I like the graveyard motif, and am a big fan of the graveyard poets. Like previous comments, I enjoyed the rest and wrested play. The "undigested" bit was also neat; Westerners are so strange for their denial of death. I watched "Little Buddha" last night and it touched on similar ideas as your poem. Also, the speed of traffic passing by graveyards is a strange phenomenon and symbolic, as you hint, of our hopes of bypassing death by speeding along. Cheers.

Dennis said...

Carol Anne, I couldn't agree more with your comments about life speeding by. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. This was a fun poem!

gel said...

Hi Dennis,
I'm here via PT again, because of Blogger posting constipation.

Your preface is intriguing. I enjoyed the rhythm, thought, and imagery to your piece. It flows so effortlessly like gently blessing those who have departed. Lovely writing. I'm happy to have found you via Poetry Thursday and would be honoured by your feedback. (My poem is not my current post anymore, but if you click "poetry thursday" on my sidebar, it will show.)