Wanderers in the graveyard

Grey settled upon evening. As I carried

The spoils of a working day inside my bag,

I claimed the shorter path through the cemetery.

Motionless, the mourning trees kept vigil

Over silent graves. At first I did not see

The two of them, perched by a low stone wall,

In filthy coats, and carrying haggard sacks

Of empty-seeming content. I ignored

Their presence through the overgrown weeds: but then,

Once noticed, I could not keep my mind from them.

Though I wandered through the gardens of the dead,

Their mien alone was enough to make me think…

And the language they exchanged – which from the slightest

Distance is no language to my ears –

All seemed so out of place with the peace of tombs.

Insisting to myself I was alone,

I kept my pace, I kept my gaze straight fixed

Upon the path – I heard their laughter still –

I began to plead the soil itself to save me.

I wished for the moon to bring humility,

Somehow, or else to cast a different shade

Upon the keepers of that lonesome place.

I placed one hand upon my bag, in case.

Yet soon I’d reached the threshold of the gates;

And nothing had passed. I noticed that, for a while,

I hadn’t dared exhale. I turned to see them,

Performing to themselves like poor courtiers

In a play. And so I eased my grasp,

On everything, and left them where they rest

To make my own strange peace with another night.

There is a small, rather beautiful graveyard directly outside my house. It is rich with lush grass, old trees with a brooding canopy; it is both peaceful, and quite unsettling in the dark. At night, the streetlights from the nearby roads make it just possible to see figures by the gravestones: silhouettes which seem to be slouching, stood motionless, waiting for some unknown time or event to arrive. I rarely can hear what it is they say to each other. I see them from the house – I wonder at times whether they ever see me – and then, I wonder whether they are wanderers in the graveyard, as I had first thought, or something altogether different. 

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4 thoughts on “Wanderers in the graveyard

    • It’s almost always a human being, which comes as both a relief and a disappointment. We are generally talking “cider from a brown paper bag” territory. But re. potential ghosts: I have never tried to capture one on film or on camera – I don’t know, I feel it would be a violation almost? It’s their resting place. If any of them are spirits, I would rather not interfere. It isn’t my place to do so, or at least that’s how I would feel about it.

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