Saturday, July 22, 2017

July 22: Cemeteries, Beverly Matherne, "Feux Follets"

I have always liked walking through cemeteries.  Loved reading headstones, finding little clues about the history of the place.  Flu epidemics.  Civil War veterans.  World War I & II.  It's all there for anybody who takes the time to look.

Where I live in the Upper Peninsula, there are wonderful cemeteries with all kinds of stories.  Ishpeming Cemetery has graves that date back to the early nineteenth century.  Back then, people knew how to write beautiful things on grave markers.  There's poetry sometimes.  Heartbreaking declarations of eternal love.

I believe that, if you really want to know what a place is really all about, you have to visit the place where the dead are buried, because the dead speak.  Tell their tales to anyone who takes the time to listen.

Saint Marty likes to listen.

Feux Follets

by:  Beverly Matherne

For M. Hebert

     By March, the Japanese tulips were bare, their lilac petals on the ground so soft she lay upon them, naked, her body opulent, the sky clear overhead.

     No one in town knew anything about it--how her hair came undone, her hair black and luminous in the sun, her hair, its waves, folds of a funeral dress spread on the still cool ground.

     No one in town knew anything about it--her body smooth, her body moist, beneath soil, fingers lengthening, circling shard and root.

     No one knew anything about it--the tide coming in, the tide going out, breaths of her body, the pull from earth to moon, breaths of her body, votives, in the holy night.

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