Sunday, May 13, 2007
Cemetaries may not seem like a good place to spend writing time, but they can be. I went looking for some inspiration for a story and came across the grave stones of the "Winter" family. Husband and wife died years apart and three children all dead at around a year. I made notes and tucked it away for another time. Then, when I came back to it recently, what I thought was a story turned out to be a poem:
Ghosts of breath hang,
drifting silent above your stones.
Robert, 49, husband of Beatrice, 79.
What happened, Robert Winter,
that you left so soon?
Harry never filled his first page;
Robert and Beartrice, eighteen
when he was ripped from their book.
Surely it tore a ragged edge,
when he left so soon.
Charles saw just one candle.
Did he take a step before he left?
Did you joy as he fell into your arms
before he went to play in Harry's yard?
Why do Winter boys leave so soon?
Ivy Thelma, thirteen months entwined.
Did two names give you two chances?
Why did you use them so quick
in the rush to join your brothers?
You, the girl that left so soon.
Was it always winter living
or were there summers too;
unrecorded in this place of endings,
where ghosts of breath hang,
drifting silent above your stones?