Saturday, August 10, 2013

New England Reflections (Cont.): The Platypus Travels Part XXVIII

Be mindful of these bones, be mindful of these bones.

New England is a land of cemeteries.  Everywhere I went growing up, I was surrounded by little grave yards.  Perhaps that's why I have a morbid affection for cemeteries and "the cold hic jacet's of the dead."  Mom remembered that on our last trip to Boston all of us kids were fascinated by the burial grounds and wanted to spend time looking at all the tombstones.  -and the tombstones of Boston are a sight worth looking at!  The Puritans lived in a hard land and death was ever present.  They internalized this in light of their faith and worked their reflections on death and immortality out on the cold slate and sandstone of their tombs.  Bellow, then, are pictures of some of my favorite tombstones from the Puritan burial grounds of Boston.  They were still there, just as I remembered them, and will still be there long after I'm no longer here to see them.

The grave of three children, all from the same family.

 Willows and earns are a neo-classical motif that became popular in the post-Puritan period.
 Zoom in on this one for a neat little allegory in the central panel.

 Note: Tradition claims that the above tombstone served as the inspiration for Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter.  See if you can imagine an "A" in the coat of arms.
 Not John Proctor of Salem and The Crucible, but interesting just the same.
Be mindful of these bones, be mindful of these bones
Wash them, cradle them, lay them in the earth
Till they lie
As thick as glacial rock
In the twinkling of an eye
They will be changed

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