Friday, September 23, 2016

Griffins Mills Cemetery: Go Somewhere, Watch People



Griffins Mills Cemetery - West Falls, NY
Photo by Amy LV




Students - About a month ago, I stopped in a local cemetery to walk around, to think.  I often do this; something about the quiet dead reminds me to live while I can, something about the stones and stories speaks to me.  

Well, on this day, I paused in my car for a bit as a woman visited graves and placed flowers -- some on the headstones and some stuck into the dirt, as if she were planting them.  I was moved by her thoughtfulness. When the woman left, I followed her path, reading the names of the people she had visited.  I imagined they were her friends.

I wrote about this in my notebook, drafted an early poem, and revisited it, playing with form and sound and line breaks for today's poem.

Places.  People.  Go somewhere and just watch.  Think about the stories going on all around you, the ones you might miss if you're thinking about what you need to do later or if you're looking down at a phone or a game.

Just go somewhere with your notebook.  Watch people.  The world is full of stories waiting for each one of us.

Many congratulations to Kathleen Sokolowski, winner of Georgia Heard's AWAKENING THE HEART and HEART MAPS!  Thank you again to Georgia for such an inspiring post last week, and thank you to Heinemann for the generous giveaway.  Kathleen - please send me an e-mail to amy@amylv.com with your snail mail address, and I will forward it on to Heinemann.

In my other online home, I am so happy to welcome fellow Poetry Friday blogger, writer, and teacher Kiesha Shepard to Sharing Our Notebooks.  Stop on over there, peek into her notebooks, leave a comment...and maybe, just maybe, thank you to Kiesha, you might win a Mary Oliver poetry book.

If you are a teacher in an urban school, and if you are interested in trying a poetry lesson or two, please send me an e-mail to amy@amylv.com.  I am writing a book which will include student poems, and so this is a possible (unpaid, but cool) publishing opportunity for students in grades 2 - 8.  

Catherine is hosting this week's Poetry Friday roundup over at Reading to the Core.  All are always welcome to visit the roundup, to meet new poems and friends.

Pink Carnation Gift
Photo by Amy LV

Please share a comment below if you wish.

14 comments:

Liz Steinglass said...

So lovely to think of the cemetery as a place of friendship and peace and not scary, the way it is often portrayed. I bet the woman would like your poem.

Whispers from the Ridge said...

Chill bumps! I also find lots to write about when I am visiting a cemetery. You never know what story will whisper to you. Can't wait for the pic later on. Have a wonderful weekend, Amy!

Ramona said...

I love walking in cemeteries and reading headstones too! Today's poem is bittersweet, loving image of lady who walks and remembers.

Jane @ raincitylibrarian.wordpress.com said...

What a beautiful poem, so deeply moving. I also enjoy walking through cemeteries, and find them peaceful. Even when I was young my mother told me to take a moment to reflect each day on my mortality, not to that I would be frightened, but so that death would simply become another part of life, which it is. Not something we want to hasten, but not something that takes us by surprise, either. Just another aspect of being alive in this world.

Linda B said...

We have several cemeteries to visit when we go back to Missouri, trying to show the grandchildren where family members are, telling stories of them and from me and my brother, stories of townspeople we knew. I love your poem Amy, a wonderful thought for that woman and her loved ones, friends or family. Thanks!

Mitchell Linda said...

Awwwwwwwwwwwwwww, touching the fingers of those she loves. Touches all of us as well. Thank you. Lovely.

Violet Nesdoly said...

What a beautiful, beautiful poem of friendship, and growing older and comforting habits. I love your writing advice: "Go somewhere and just watch." Life so easily bullies us. It's good to give ourselves permission to step off the track.

Sheila said...

Knowing that cemetery from growing up in West Falls made this poem all the more special to me. Our mom was our family historian, and she would load us into the car to travel to cemeteries often. I spent my 16th birthday on one such trip and while I was disgruntled about it then, I now can see mom's passion for family and admire that day. Thanks for sharing another way to find writing ideas, Amy!

Linda A. said...

Sweet as pink carnations. Loved it!

Margaret Simon said...

My parents are outliving their friends. I am happy they are strong and healthy at 80 and 82, but it makes me sad every time Mom calls with another death report. Your poem touched my heart.

Catherine said...

I grew up down the street from a cemetery where many relatives are buried, so we went there often and my grandmother told me stories of her childhood and memories of those people. Now that my grandmother is there with them, I visit when I'm missing her. I love that you imagined a story for the woman you watched, and that your poem captures the bond that holds people together forever.

Michelle Heidenrich Barnes said...

Ditto to Liz's comment, Amy. Lovely!

Robyn Hood Black said...

What a touching, beautiful post & poem, Amy. Thank you for sharing. Have you visited Doraine's post this weekend? Like minds...

Tabatha said...

So much story in such a small space! Nicely done, Amy. xo