Spring 1987 • Vol. IX No. 2 Poetry |

Old Burying Ground

As long as men have cleared these fields of stonesthis spot has been a portion set apartfor those who cleared them to inter their bones,their names indebted to the carver's art. Here sanctioned graven images adorninglegends incised below their low relieffeature in turn for every era's mourninga choice device to give a shape to grief. The elders ordained skulls with beartrap teethhovering gleefully on harpy wings;their sons, more civilly, repose beneaththe cherub's less aggressive flutterings. Their grandsons, still more decorous, enjoyedan emblem classical in its reserve:a willow with despondent boughs deployedto frame an urn by their condoling curve. Marking the measured ebb of holy dreaddrew smiles from these prim and bulbous putti,till they absconded, leaving in their steadlachrymal limbs to do their pious duty. Was this the destined course of intellect,the forfeiture of faith for sentiment?Heaven left faceless, how can we detectwhat even that third generation Mnea

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As long as men have cleared these fields of stonesthis spot has been a portion set apartfor those who cleared them to inter their bones,their names indebted to the carver's […]

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