Monday, 3 October 2011

Widow's waeds


They set a cracking pace, chattering as they scurried, throwing hurry-ups over their shoulder to ensure none was tardy. Checking that I, the intruder, didn't miss my step over the gutter, I snatched a glimpse as they ducked around the back of the crematorium. Luckily, I caught the hem of the black sheep as he stepped in behind the Eastern Wall. An unexpected vista opened before me.


Could they have internalised Robert Frost's 'Mending Wall'? In this small section, maybe half a dozen rows, there they were, laid cheek-by-jowl, peas-in-a-pod, not an inch between them. One big, happy family with bountiful tending and respect. I heard the tumbling gush of ancient-tongue, the bustle as bouquets unfurled, and water fetched. The tsk-ing and the tut-ing as the week's embarrassments were confided.

I moved on, with a spring and a smile. Not only Frost, but Dylan Thomas as well:
Though lovers be lost, love shall not;
And death shall have no dominion.

21 comments:

Ali - Scituate Daily Photo said...

And death shall have no dominion indeed.

Beautifully done.

Genie -- Paris and Beyond said...

"Mending Wall" and "And Death Shall Have No Dominion" are beautiful references to accompany your exquisite photos and story. The cemeteries tell much about the culture, the history, and the lives of those buried. You, mon amie, have enriched this with the presence of the women. I think that Thomas and Frost would approve.

Just fabulous, Julie.

Bises,
Genie

Kay L. Davies said...

Beautifully, wonderfully done, Julie. I am continually amazed at the way your camera loves people, near or far, close-up or unfocused in the distance.
(I love the Dylan Thomas lines.)

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie’s Guide to Adventurous Travel

Leif Hagen said...

VERY different looking from the cemeteries over here, Julie!

Paul said...

I have not been to any kind of funeral for some years. I Called by a local crematorium for some photos a while back and chickened out of taking photos of the cars, coffin, people. This is not like me at all... So bravo!

cara said...

beautiful images and words, Julie! I really love this little series.

Mark said...

A slice of Sydney life, love it Julie.

Vicki said...

A fascinating glimpse of another culture. Thanks for sharing, Julie.

Peter said...

Love the flowers!

Joe said...

Such a neat cemetery. Your accompanying words are so apt and meaningful. As always it is a pleasure to visit your blog.

Jilly said...

How fascinating. The same type of graves here but yours are in far better condition. Also the flowers are at the front - often they are at the back here. I note many artificial flowers (at least I think I do) and that is so Italian.

Adore your two ladies bending over. That's priceless.

Julie said...

Jilly - I think many of the flowers are silk or the like, but a surprising proportion are fresh. What we do not have here is what I see in Paris so much which is flowering plants around and over the graves ... and inbetween. I wonder why the differences between cultures ...

brattcat said...

and death shall have no dominion. beautifully done, julie.

Kate said...

The differences in cemetery designs in various cultures is fascinating. In the Midwest, the plots are fairly standard, conservative, and conventional, but in the Southwest it's a different story...more colourful and religiously oriented in terms of visible icons with many artificial flowers. Then there's Mexico and France! And on and on.

Julie said...

Kate - I am endlessly fascinated by this. I have two more, fairly small. cemeteries here in Sydney to pay my respects to prior to Christmas. In Sydney alone, the differences in style are marked.

The one I am in at the moment, Botany, where I am hoping to have my father interred in a War Grave, is a very beautiful and well maintained cemetery.

PerthDailyPhoto said...

So happy you 'caught the hem of the black sheep....' Julie, we are all the more enriched by seeing this. I can imagine the sense of community as they tend to the resting places of their loved one's. btw have I mentioned lately, your wordage is a joy to read.

Julie said...

Thank you, Grace. I appreciate your kind words. The text takes a fair bit of time, but I enjoy the crafting.

Ann said...

I like Robert Frost too, esp his Two roads meet.

Joan Elizabeth said...

This opulence is amazing ... no at all like the lonely scraggly graves in the country cemeteries I visit. I don't visit city cemeteries so this is quite an eye opener for me.

Joan Elizabeth said...

There is an old cemetery in St Leonards over the road from where I worked. It is wild with old roses, wisteria, freesias in season and lots of other flowers. I liked going there in spring.

Julie said...

Joan - It is Gore Hill Cemetery. It is on my list to visit this coming Thursday. Then on Tues 18th I go to a similar cemetery in Randwick.