Grave Goods

Cemeteries are places we turn our backs on,
Quarantine islands for a contagion that haunts us,
The burden of being human

After the brutal tear in burial earth,
Its too real rupture between now and then,
Obsequies done, comes the great forgetting

We have become adept at it,
Modernity’s casual employees
Serving out our decades of temporary existence
In the fast food joint of an unmoored mind, for
Memory is inconvenient

The pity of it: Souls untended
And these the living

Sometimes, though, one sees the old ways
Spoken in a pidgin tongue, spelled out on graves
In plaster angels and fairy lights from discount stores,
The yearning, however, is real

But you rest in an idea, pure and clear
As chorister’s voice in cathedral heights
Soul-sung in sorrow and beauty

I read poetry by your graveside
With every word remembering,
These are your grave goods, my darling,
All the world’s true things

by R. Nugent

(The picture is a detail from Maudie Brady’s luminously beautiful portrait of Sophia. 

Maudie’s website can be found here: )