Monday, June 29, 2015

Platteville, Colorado

Heaven Bound on a High-Wing:  High wings improve the panoramic view of earth down below but obscure the view of heaven up above. Choose a high-wing aircraft if you think you might have a hard time leaving earth behind, if you're the reminiscent sort who can't let go of anything, or if you want to dwell in the house of the flesh forever. Mizpah Cemetery. 2013.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Prattville, Alabama

Prop Planes and Pilots:  Perhaps he got his training in the military, but the plane on his headstone looks decidedly recreational. For him, "getting away from it all" must have meant defying the force of gravity and becoming one with the clouds. Oakville Cemetery. [2013]

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Canal Winchester, Ohio

Prop Planes and Pilots:  It looks like he lost his life in the closing days of World War II in Europe. Now, his "life is a beautiful memory." An ensign only was he, but more important than the rank was his job. He was a pilot who one day flew off into the sunset, here portrayed in red, white, and blue. Union Grove Cemetery. [2014]

Monday, June 22, 2015

Sturbridge, Massachusetts

Prop Planes and Pilots:  The Lt. Colonel buried here was born only 17 years after the airplane was invented. By the time he reached manhood, he was flying in World War Two. His service in the U.S. Army became the touchstone of his existence. It made him a hero in life and, now, a hero for the ages. North Cemetery. [2013]

Friday, June 19, 2015

Mechancisburg, Pennsylvania

What's Missing?  Talk about longevity! Here is a grave waiting for someone who is already 160 years old. Could this be the beginning of an episode of Rod Serling's "Twilight Zone"? Chestnut Hill Cemetery. [2013]

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Forest Park, Illinois

What's Missing?  What's important gets recorded. In graveyards, at a minimum, that usually means the name along with year of birth and year of death. Here, the salient fact seems to have been where he died: "in hospital." He was with the circus. We know that because he is buried in a section of the cemetery called Showman's Rest. Worked for the circus/died in the hospital: Are the two related? Woodlawn Cemetery. [1987]

Monday, June 15, 2015

Lebanon, Ohio

What's Missing?  Graveyards are always incomplete records of those who have lived and died. What's missing from this headstone? If you were creating a data matrix for the people buried here, you would have to enter "NA" in two columns for this grave site: Name and Birth Date. Yet, you get the exact day on which s/he died in 1832 at 20 years and 11 months. Bethany United Church of Christ Cemetery. [2014]

Friday, June 12, 2015

Cynthiana, Kentucky

Pop Poetry on Cemetery Landscapes:  "If tears could build a stairway" takes advantage of every opportunity to be seen in cemeteries across the land: plaques, tiles, headstones, banners, and, here, benches. In this rendition, though, the words have changed slightly, and theologically for the better: "I'd Walk Right Up to Heaven, To See You Again." There's no reference to bringing a loved one back again; that would be contravening God's will. Cherry Grove Cemetery. [2015]

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Brandywine, West Virginia

Pop Poetry on Cemetery Landscapes:  Wouldn't you like to talk to a theologian about this popular poem? Its "walk right up to heaven" seems decidedly Christian, but its "bring you home again" really doesn't. Heaven offers a new and better home in the embrace of God: from which no one would want to come back! Pine Hill Cemetery. [2014]

Monday, June 8, 2015

Loveland, Ohio

Pop Poetry on Cemetery Landscapes:   Here's all five verses of "Tears." Union Cemetery. [2015]

If tears could build a stairway,
And memories a lane,
I would walk right up to heaven
And bring you home again.

No farewell words were spoken,
No time to say "Goodbye."
You were gone before I knew it
And only God knows why.

My heart still aches with sadness
And secret tears still flow
What it meant to love you
No one will ever know.

But now I know you want me
To mourn for you no more;
To remember all the happy times,
Life still has much in store.

Since you'll never be forgotten,
I pledge to you today
A hallowed place within my heart
Is where you'll always stay.

Friday, June 5, 2015

South Charleston, West Virginia

Pop Poetry on Cemetery Landscapes:  "If Tears Could Build A Stairway, And Memories A Lane, I'd Walk Right Up to Heaven And Bring You Home Again." In this case, tears have built a stairway right on the headstone. Sunset Memorial Cemetery. [2015]

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Greeley, Colorado

Pop Poetry on Cemetery Landscapes:  ". . . I'd Walk Right Up to Heaven, And Bring You Home Again." In this case, by boat. Linn Grove Cemetery, 2013.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Wrightsville, Pennsylvania

Pop Poetry on Cemetery Landscapes:  "If Tears Could Build a Stairway, and Memories a Lane . . . "  The author may be unknown, but the verses of this highly visual poem are well known to anyone who has visited a cemetery in the past decade or so.  Fairview Cemetery. [2013]