Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Every Man is a Piece of the Continent

Our small farming village where I grew up
provided aplenty for the living---
grocer, two churches, a handy man, some

widows and orphans, stray chickens,
mosquitoes, snakes---but lacked provision
for the dying: no graveyard, an oddity

as our village was planted many miles
from towns or burial places. This cold fact
never registered with me till I moved

to a city where cemeteries flourish.
Returning to the village over the years,
I mourned as it disappeared---widows died,

orphans moved away, grocer gone, churches
empty. One spring I walked the raised railroad
tracks as I did during childhood. Delighted,

I discovered many village residents
had not gone after all: in a far corner
of one cotton farm a small cemetery.