Wednesday, June 9, 2010

DPS: Cemeteries

For my assignment "Cemeteries" from Digital Photography School, I borrowed an idea from Tina.

My plan was to photograph any cemeteries I saw when I was out and about with my camera.

Winter Street Cemetery, Exeter, NH

I realized there are many cemeteries dotting the New Hampshire landscape.

Family cemetery along the road

I ended up taking pictures for only a few days because I didn't want to be overwhelmed by cemetery photos.

Broad Street Cemetery, Salem, MA
Founded in 1655

I was hoping to stumble across an old, abandoned cemetery in the forest. I know of two of them, but both were too difficult for me to visit during the assignment period.

Piscassic Cemetery, Newfields, NH

And finally, because I was thrilled to capture the tractor gathering hay in the distance behind this cemetery, I'll close with this poem. I promise to return to more lighthearted posts in short order!

Archibald MacLeish (1892-1982).
“New England Weather”
from Collected Poems: 1917-1982 (1985).

Hay-time when the Boston forecast
calls for haying weather, hot and fair,
Conway people stick to garden chores
and nod toward nightfall at the cemetery:

that's where Sumner Boyden's lying now
and Sumner always told the town, if Boston
promised shine you'd better count on showers
'long toward evening with your hay crop lost.

He meant, no man can tell the weather
anywhere but where he's from:
you have to have the whole of it together,
bred in your bones---the way the wind-shifts come,

how dust feels on a hayfork handle
days when there'll be thunder up for sure,
and how the swallows skim, the cattle stand,
when blue stays blue and even clover cures.

He knew the Conway signs and when the Boston
forecast didn't, team went back to stalls
and chances were, by half-past four at most
we'd hear the thunder up toward Shelburne Falls.

It wasn't luck. New England weather
breeds New Englanders: that changing sky
is part of being born and drawing breath
and dying, maybe, where you're meant to die.


LA said...

Old cemeteries have their own special charm. Some of the epitaphs are especially interesting.

Julie said...

I love old cemeteries, I love to read the headstones.

Nice peom!

Sara said...

I tend to wander around looking at old cemeteries. They are rather cool.

Anonymous said...

I too like old cemeteries - something about all that history.

Delighted Hands said...

I don't think it macabre to admire the place where we will all end up! Kind of neat to check out the real estate possiblilities!

Becky said...

Nice group of photos. This could be a photo study.

DPS is such a great resource.

Sharon said...

Awesome poem, especially the last stanza. Thanks! A perfect reflection of your assignment.

Lois Evensen said...

My honey and I enjoy walking around old cemeteries, especially those from the Civil War in the US. It is interesting to think of the times in which these people lived, what types of clothing they might have worn, what they might have done for a living....

Two summers ago we went to the small PA town where my father was born and found the family plot after much researching and finding a wonderful lady there to help us. The plot for 8 people (two generations back, my parents are not there) wasn't marked so we bought a bench marker for it. While a child, I remember my parents contributing to a marker, but whoever was in charge never bought it and put it in place. It just seemed wrong that those people whose DNA I carry were not left without marker. My grandfather owned the town newspaper and was a friend of Samuel Clemmons. It is wise to know our history so we can build on what was good and avoid what was not.

I really enjoy your blog.


Anonymous said...

I think the small old family cemeteries are beautiful - it's just fascinating to think of all the history that surrounds us in New England!!
:) Colleen

Life Looms Large said...

Glad you guys didn't find my cemetery post too depressing!!


Janet said...

Old cemeteries just ooze history, particularly abandoned cemeteries with the grass growing up around the headstones which in their turn are being battered and cracked. It's important to pause and think about the generations that have gone before us.

Janet said...

Oh, p.s., thanks for the poem - it certainly resonates with me - once a New Englander, always a New Englander I guess. Why am I moving to Seattle?