White, I told them

White, I told them, white –
everything white – dress me
in white linen, drape me
with white silk. White satin pillows
for my head.

Pile up white lilies all around me.
Fill each white vase
with soft white roses –
set white sheets on my white bed –
white curtains billowing,
white candles, white, white.

I am not ready to go down
into the dark.

Laura is tending the bar at dVerse tonight, and asks us to be inspired by the fictional dead. She reminds us of the strange comfort of graveyards, and shares some graveyard poems with us. My poem is inspired by the Longfellow verse she shares:

Longfellow’s In the Churchyard at Cambridge

…“In the village churchyard she lies,
Dust is in her beautiful eyes,
No more she breathes, nor feels, nor stirs;
At her feet and at her head
Lies a slave to attend the dead,
But their dust is white as hers.

Was she a lady of high degree,
So much in love with the vanity
And foolish pomp of this world of ours?
Or was it Christian charity,
And lowliness and humility,
The richest and rarest of all dowers?

Who shall tell us?  No one speaks;” …

A month with Yeats #3

With all their ancient faces like weather beaten stones…

Connemara Gravestones

They line up to face the water
In that space between
The living and the dead,
That narrow space between
Here and there, light and dark,
Today and yesterday,
Between the fertile ground
And the strand, where nothing grows,
Only the kelp sprawls
And coils in shining ripples.

Flowers have been left here,
Faded reds and pinks,
Storm tattered and fading,

And there, the Virgin
Holds her hands open,
To receive the wind, the rain,
As if they were a blessing,
Head tilted, to hear the sea,
Moving restlessly, relentlessly.

This is for Jane Dougherty’s Month with Yeats challenge. The first line (in italics) of the post is the inspiration she offers, and it reminded me of a cemetery we walked past in Connemara a couple of years ago, down on the seashore.