21 July 2007

16Glebe graveyard, outside Castletownbere —
A mass graveyard for the victims of the famine and here I sit on a wooden bench that’s built into a tree among all the forgotten dead. This place is desolate, covered in moss and leaves. There is so much green here it’s hard to believe there is also so much death. I am alone here, no other tourists to ruin my experience; in fact, besides a few cars that zoom by, I think I’m the only sign of human life for miles.

A jungle of death, of stones without names, without words. Those stones with names are difficult to read. I want to carve thank you + we’re sorry into the blank ones, but I have no sharp object with which to etch. To walk among these stones is to walk with something more than myself. A modern American woman wondering abut my own Irish roots. Where did I come from? To find the stone that might be yours

jungle of death, I found you
along the Beare shores, the place
forgotten yet teeming with life.
Hundreds of nameless stones among moss
and leaves and ferns, the grass
grows because it still can, while
the body decomposes and
it is decomposed. Death here
springs life. Lush and almost
tropical. If I unturned your stone,
if I scraped off all the moss to
read your name, would I find
the name I once knew.

* I’m sad that I cannot find most of my Ireland pictures. I had some great ones of this graveyard. The downside of changing technology. If I suddenly find them, I will update this post.

 

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