Sunday, October 14, 2018

The Word from the Corner - Among the Names

The Word from the Corner Poets have an unfair - if not completely undeserved - reputation as a depressive, inward looking lot. You know, "We're all going to die...hey...I think I have an idea for a poem..." That line of thought. But if you come out to a poetry night (say on October 23rd at 7PM at the Tuesdays4Poetry open mic at Stevens Memorial Library), you'll get a very different take. Besides insight into what makes someone tick, you'll hear a lot of wry observations and social commentary. Funny stuff too. Really. But going with the depressive theme, at this time of year my thoughts turn to...cemeteries. My wife and I went on a tour of the 1st burial ground in North Andover on Academy Road. Stone by stone, historian Richard Hite walked us through the cemetery, and talked about those buried there who were involved in the witch trials of 1692. The graves of many are there - from the "afflicted", to the accusers, the accused, and the many people who came out publicly to oppose the charges. This opposition led directly to bringing the witchcraft crisis to a close by early 1693. The tour was hosted by the North Andover Historical Society. Here's a poem that I wrote a few years ago standing in that same grassy field. Like many poems, it took a turn of its own. Enjoy. _______________________________________________ Among The Names Standing on this cold field Surrounded by stones and names We get cold feet Unsure where we stand in this world Or the next Among the stones and names All we can do is listen, and stand in the quiet Among still grasses, standing stones, fallen leaves Among the dead Grateful for any message Unsure what we’d do if one came Still we listen Among the dead There’s an inside joke, perhaps a nod, an unseen wink An elbow in the ribs A stifled laugh, a quieting hand to shush the lips A secret smile They can no longer laugh out loud But they get the joke They get it For they saw the whole show Bought the ticket, paid full price too Standing among the names Their hushed unspoken message This message that they earned Silently is heard Ok, it’s ok Your time, enjoy This cold field, enjoy Your cold feet too Until you get the joke Until you find your name Among the dead Grateful be --October 2015 --Old Burial Ground, Academy Road --North Andover, Mass. --by Mark Bohrer ____________________________________________

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