Friends in Low Places

Today I walked through the cemetery of my childhood

thinking

of all life stories encapsulated there.

Friends and neighbors

inscribed on theses stones;

A card catalog

of stories one can no longer check out.

Ancestries long buried in dust

some lost in time;

Yet the stones live on

calling for recognition from the living.

Today, as I walked

I remembered friends and neighbors

who shaped my life

with their smiles…

their words….

love shared…

I think to myself

“I’ve got friends in low places…”

I must be getting old!

Photos: Dwight L. Roth

Today at d’Verse, Peter asked us to consider beginnings and endings in poetry. We are looking at how the lines flow and how endings are used to punctuate what we are trying to say. He gave us five things to choose from as we write our poems. I tried to incorporate some of these in my poem today.

  1. how and where to end that line 
  2. endings as quotations like The Golden Shovel form – where one poem quotes another 
  3. endings and beginnings – verse forms that loop and repeat
  4. underlining your endings, and
  5. surprise ending

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This was inspired by reading Derrick Knight’s post: Return To Brompton Cemetery – derrickjknight

Honsaker Tombstone

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I walk through the cemetery of my childhood
visiting old friend’s stones, long engraved;
unchanged through every season.
Each stone’s name brings back a special memory;
Some much more memorable that others.
“O, there you are my favorite stone of all
You haven’t changed a bit in fifty years
Honsaker tombstone do you remember
How we walked your ledge in the dark
On summer Sunday evenings after church;
And, do you remember when my friend Jimmy
brought a girl to make out in your dark shadow;
What a wonder you are // the largest rock on the hill.”
“You don’t know how confining it is to remain unchanged;
Year after year watching the living and the dead pass by
Oh. how I long for the freedom to move and rise above
like the birds flying overhead.
I remember you and all your friends with great nostalgia;
Your laughter and happiness lifted my spirits.
But now, all that is gone and I sit here // alone // rock solid
Waiting for the end of time.”
I leave them all behind as I walk back to my car
feasting on memories frozen in time.

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Photos: Dwight L. Roth

Amaya, at d’Verse, asked us to look at the use of apostrophe in poetry. I always thought that an apostrophe was just that little mark you use when writing a contraction. Today, I learned it is much more than that when used in poetry. It becomes a form of personification, injecting and addressing what is not there as though it was a living being. I think I got that right!? I chose a tombstone that I remember very well.
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Laid to Rest

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Leaves are laid to rest;
Blanketing the ground around the stones
of those already laid to rest.
Golden brown they fall
scattering in the wind // drifting gently;
A covering for those who have already
passed the winter of their life…
and those who left much too soon.
Soon the oak will be bare of leaves
its branches reaching up toward the blue sky.
Standing tall and stately over the cemetery
it knows when Spring comes
new life
will be drawn from its roots.
And, when this winter is past
it will put out new leaves
that will, once again, shade those
 who have already been laid to rest.

Photo: Dwight L. Roth

I am also posting this for d’Verse Poets Pub open link night.

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Footprints of History

Graveyard at Historic Halifax 001

When I was teaching school years ago, we took many field trips. In this photo my students were taking a walking tour of Historic Halifax in North Carolina. A guide explained each thing as we walked. Here we are viewing the crypts of the some of the persons who lived here back during the Revolutionary War period. The Halifax Resolves predated the Declaration of Independence in rejecting British rule and claiming independence. That is why our license plates have  First In Freedom on them.

Footprints of our past

Encased in stone and concrete

Students look and learn

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Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Bjorn asked us to write a Haibun about walking for our Monday Haibun at d’Verse.

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