Friday, October 30, 2015

Holyoke, Massachusetts

Rest in Peace:  Ersatz cemeteries appear all over in the days leading up to Halloween. Front yards like this one are prime locations. We can have such fun with the dead, can't we?  [2013]

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Claremont, California

Rest in Peace:  'Rest in Peace' became so much a part of the cemetery's linguistic landscape that you didn't even need to spell it out. R.I.P. was known to everyone. The long poem on this headstone is another part of the linguistic landscape, common everywhere but with more recent roots. It begins: "If tears could build a stairway...." Oak Park Cemetery. [2015]

Monday, October 26, 2015

Rockport, Arkansas

Rest in Peace:  "Rest in Peace" is probably the most well-known short epitaph found on cemetery memorials.  It has Biblical roots and a long history, but it soared in popularity in the 1700s and remains in the mix of prayers uttered for the soul. What's worth more than a knowing glance on this headstone, though, is the name. Rockport Cemetery. [2012]

Friday, October 23, 2015

Big Coppit Key, Florida

Focus on Southern Keys Cemetery:  Some quirkiness is evident here. The images may be caricatures of pet cats (perhaps from the same litter!), but they may also be caricatures of their mistress. Want to guess that the southern Keys are a proudly quirky place? [2014]

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Big Coppit Key, Florida

Focus on Southern Keys Cemetery:  In the Florida Keys, everything is seaside, and palms are everywhere. Perhaps no other tree connotes peace and contentment as much as the palm, of whatever variety. What does an earthly paradise look like? Tropical islands, crowned in palm fronds, in a sea of blue. That may be our image of the eternal paradise as well. [2014]

Monday, October 19, 2015

Big Coppit Key, Florida

Focus on Southern Keys Cemetery: Some memorials capture the spirit of place almost perfectly. Would you guess 'Florida' if you found an alligator like this on guard at ground level? This type of marker is called a ledger. It's a slab of granite that covers the entire body. Chief advantage: lots of room for memorializing words and pictures. [2014]

Friday, October 16, 2015

Thomasville, Pennsylvania

Equophilia:  Do you feel like staring? Do you feel like the horse on the headstone is eager to share? Rhea Badhwar's poem "Horses" captures these inclinations perfectly. Now, find the cherub on the crescent moon and create a dreamtime colloquy between the two. Speech balloons provided. Equophilia? Love of horses. Paradise Evangelical Lutheran Church Cemetery. [2014]

     "When a horse is seen, many words come to mind,
Strong, agile, magnificent, refined.
When a horse is seen there's an urge to stare,
There's a thrill that the horse is eager to share."

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Durango, Colorado

Equophilia:  The bench suggests rest. The horse suggests action. Now, read the last stanza of Will Ogilvie's poem "Hoofs of the Horses" and see how he handles the themes of rest and action. Greenmount Cemetery. [2013]

     "When you lay me to slumber no spot can you choose
But will ring to the rhythm of galloping shoes,
And under the daisies no grave be so deep
But the hoofs of the horses shall sound in my sleep."

Monday, October 12, 2015

Lancaster, Minnesota

Equophilia:  Love of horses is known as equophilia. It afflicts a lot of people who dream of seeing their beloved steads on the other side of eternity. At least, that is what Brenda Riley-Seymore posits in her poem "Don't Cry for the Horses."  Read the last three stanzas below. Riverview Memorial Gardens. [2012]

    "Look up into heaven
You'll see them above
The horses we lost
The horses we loved
    "Manes and tails flowing
They Gallop through time
They were never yours
They were never mine
    "Don't cry for the horses
They will be back someday
When our time has come
They will show us the way”

Friday, October 9, 2015

Wilmington, Delaware

Cynophilia:  With dogs at his feet and angels overhead, here is someone who has brought a sense of style to the graveyard. Wilmington and Brandywine Cemetery. [2014]

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Clintonville, West Virginia

Cynophilia:  Semper Fi means "Always Loyal": That fits both the Marine buried here and his faithful friend who stands watch at the grave. Cynophilia is the love of dogs, in this case, one particular dog. Wallace Memorial Cemetery. [2010]

Monday, October 5, 2015

North Charleston, South Carolina

Cynophilia:  There's always room for the family pets, even when the memorial marker is small. Here's the question: Who reigned supreme in this household? The King and Queen, of course! Their servants were the bipeds, who must have been real cynophiles. Carolina Memorial Gardens. [2012]

Friday, October 2, 2015

Hinsdale, New York

Ailurophilia:  Here, ailurophilia ('love of cats') is supplemented by ailurocentricity ('cat centeredness'). What image occupies the geometric center of this headstone? What image is subordinated? In fact, we might call this quadruailurophilia and quadruailurocentricity. Hinsdale Cemetery. [2013]