Thursday, April 7, 2011

A Day In A Life . . .

Out running an errand this past weekend, I took advantage of a few minutes free time to step into a graveyard in an unfamiliar town, to look around, to contemplate, to ponder. This is what happened.
I suppose one could see such things
In almost any cemetery in France
On any given day
Or is it just I who sees them ?
And thinks
Perhaps naively
The prosaic poet in me
That we should remember them
That we should not forget
Those who went before
Lives from past centuries
Lives from long ago
Before we knew
All we know today
All we know today ?
But are we better for it ?
I often wish for older, simpler times
For I am not entirely convinced
That where we are going today
Is somewhere we really want to go
But like a runaway train
There is no going back
No going home
And what was the title
Of Mr Morrison's biography ?
"No One Here Get's Out Alive" ?
Wise words, wise words. . .







(To our beloved son, Lucien Poiret, 404th Infanterie, Died for France, 25th March 1918, at the age of  25 years )



Catherine said...

what wonderful evocative photos - the textures, colours, rust, sentiments - all so rich!! said...

how sweet someone remembered their loved one with a garden of flowers.

Le Journal de Chrys said...

Mes photos préférées sont les 3ème et 4ème.

Je vois que tu poursuis avec contance ton exploration des cimetières!!!!

Belle journée Owen.

Gary G. Simington said...

Thought provoking, as always. Thank you.

Alistair said...

Poignant photos as always from your visits to graveyards. I have spent some time in a few graveyards locally lately and am struk by the different feel from the culture of the two nations.

I also found a blogger who is doing some very nice work in photographing some of our old gravestones which I thought you might like. I put a link to him on my blog here.

Marginalia said...

Makes death almost comforting.

Rust undermines the incorruptibility of the images.

Steve said...

There is something truly emotive about the way moss and lichen claim stone to themselves and soften it without obliterating the carefully carved contours.

Genie -- Paris and Beyond said...

Poignant evocative photos... a reason that I love the cemeteries of the world so. The memories of many are held here and there comes a time when the survivors have passed on and there is no one left to tend to the monuments.

Owen, I am looking forward to meeting you on the 17th with Nathalie and others!


mythopolis said...

Quite thought provoking. Nice captures by you in words and images.

TheChieftess said...

Quite lovely Owen!

-K- said...

There are some really wonderful shots here!

Elizabeth Anderson said...

I am reminded of my paternal grandfather, sometimes known as Pipi. We lived two hours away in another city and on one visit my AUnt told my Father to go talk sense into his Father.

He was in the backyard with bags of cement making a tombstone for his cousin. Apparently the family was estranged from him and refused to pay for a head stone. Pipi had to do it several times before he was satisfied with the results. He told my Father that every man deserves to be remembered.

It was one of those rare moments that was able to see the man behind the grandfather role. This modest monument remains with no sign of deterioration.

TheChieftess said...

Such a touching story Artscapes...your grandfather was quite a man...

jeff said...

Le temps qui efface tout n'efface pas le souvenir ! He oui ! Je ne sais pas ce qui t'amène à "voyager" dans les cimetières... mais pour une fois, cette phrase, citation, m'interpelle ! Je pense aux voiture dont tu disais que dans plusieurs siècles il n'y aurait plus rien... he bien, il en restera le souvenir des passagers qui ont voyagé avec...
Que reste-t-il après ? Peut-être tout... peut-être rien...! Mais pour l'instant, il y a nous !
Et c'est pour ça qu'il y a des souvenirs !...

The Sagittarian said...

Kind of makes me think I shall have to put a lot of thought into what is left behind for me, that someone as arty farty as you might just come along and take photos of my resting place and that I should have something to say from beyond...(I told you I was sick, probably wouldn't cut it)
Great pix Brother Owen. :-)

Laurie said...

Lost for words, Owen. All I can say is:


Anonymous said...

unbareable timeness of being.

Stickup Artist said...

Wonderful themes and images of weathered stone and rusted metal. Time creates its own art and you are there to notice and capture its patina. You could sell the colorful textures alone for artists on the lookout for "distressed" surfaces to incorporate into images!

Margaret Pangert said...

A Owen~ I always love your poetry, so poignant, evocative, elegiac. Where are we going? I think if we are too disrespectful of Mother Earth's grand plan for us, she will shake us off like fleas. The lichen and rust have turned these memorials into works of art... especially the mother and child. "Time--which erases everything--cannot erase the memories." And what would the "Anniversaire" be? The anniversary of their deaths? Marriage? Birth? Interesting the newly-planted pansies in a very old plot with a fallen crucifix... Lovely post, mon vieil ami.

Mary Ann said...

I couldn't really see what was in that black frame. Is is my eyesight, the photo, or had the image worn away?

Anonymous said...

Owen. You know of our common fascination for that kind of places where the limits of time vanish and the misteries of life and death seemed to be cristal clear. But when I was a children it wasnt like that. You know prejudices and religion begin to flood our young mind with irrational fears and doubts. Then one day a person told me, dont be scare about life and the promise of dead. Better focus in pick up the knowledgge the ancestors have left for you, in form of words, history and experience. And focus better in seize the life and the feast of everyday. Open you eyes to it and enjoy the smell of the roses but also even that of the damp soil of a graveyard, cause, life is something so transient, nothing but a dream we all had, at the egdge of eternity.
Like a runaway train indeed, I think of that song, "feels like I should be getting somewhere, but somehow I am neither here, nor there. . "
My best regards to you dear friend, and thank you very much, for this chance of making a reflection about life and like Morrison sang, "our friend, the end"

Pastelle said...

Je n'ai jamais fait de photos dans un cimetière. Et tu m'en donnerais presque envie... Je n'aime pas les croix, les Christs, les vierges. Mais j'aime la rouille et une certaine atmosphère. Tes photos 3 et 6 sont donc mes préférées.
Allez, je vais essayer !
Et puis tu as raison. Ils le méritent bien.

Cryingbear said...

j'adore la troisième photo ! et pourtant d'habitude je n'aime pas trop les photos de cimetiere !

The Poet Laura-eate said...

Splendid poem, splendid piccies. I entirely agree with the sentiments.

What is 'progress' exactly and why is it always supposed to be a GOOD thing?

Lynne with an e said...

The abandonned crucifixes underlined by the withered leaves, the effaced souvenir, the pansy bed (pensées), the rusted disappearance act of the Madonna...the intricate textures of lives lost, perhaps lived well or lived in vain...the inevitablilty of our own mortality...the eventuality of being forgotten...all reflected upon poetically by a prosaic artist provide a contemplative path for we visitors to walk along.

James said...

New cemeteries don't do a thing for me but I go nuts over the old ones. The older, more decayed and ornate the better. Beautiful stuff Owen!

Springman said...

Scary sentiments Owen. Yes, life always comes to a bad end and it's tough to watch ourselves rust away like an iron cemetary monument. Ah, but the curse is a hearty, inspirational brew for the artistic soul!
I guess it's just that many of us will make better fertilizer than we did people.

Stephanie Scarpa said...

I sometimes feel like our morality is fading in the very same way. It makes me sad.

/S /

PeterParis said...

I think we share a love for old cemeteries, with their specific charm!

Céline said...

Les cimetières : un endroit que j'aime bien fréquenter et pas seulement le Père Lachaise. A Lyon, nous avons le cimetière de Loyasse qui vaut le détour. J'y ai déjà pris quelques photos mais encore assez pour partager (à suivre).
En tout cas, je suis fan de ces vierges rongées par la rouille et la mousse, symbole du temps qui passe en laissant sa marque colorée !!
Une très bonne semaine Owen !!

Owen said...

Merci à toutes et à tous, vos remarques me laissent toujours songeur car riche en matière à réflexion, et me laissent content de votre passage, votre compagnie sur ce chemin... ce chemin vers... vers ??? Je ne sais pas où, finalement, c'est le chemin qui compte.

Thanks to all !

Alistair, thanks for the link...

Springman, yeah, we are all just glorified fertilizer, ay ? And if I don't meet you in the future, maybe I'll see you in the pasture...

Yes, to all, I am simply happy if this gave you some food for thought.

Be well...

Carmen Troncoso Baeza said...

Buenas fotos, saludos desde Chile,

Nathalie H.D. said...

I know you love it but I'm never quite comfortable with all this cemetary stuff. Eternal memories that fade away make me realise how very ephemeral everything is - our strongest feelings soon to vanish. What is our time on this planet worth? Not much...

Maria O. Russell said...

What a beautiful post M. Owen! Who says old cemeteries are not romantic and beautiful?

The 2nd act of the world´s most romantic, beautiful ballet (according to Maria) is played in a cemetery!

Thank you somuch!

Roxana said...

aaah, all that rust, and the amazing moss green hues... i could never be convinced to accompany you on such a stroll, i am with Nathalie here, not at all comfortable... yet i so like looking at your masterful compositions, especially that white faded portrait makes my heart ache this time...

Lydia said...

Your words are wise words, too.
There is a real sadness to these images for me. All the rust and decay above ground seems even more devastating than the death these things are there to memorialize. That grave of the French soldier really tugged at my heart (thanks for translating). And the last grave with flowers growing, oh how alive above ground....