Thursday, February 9, 2012

Southside Cemetery

Gravestones in Southside Cemetery

Here is a mottled chunk of rock, set upright.
Here is one a foot tall, miraculously erect
amid the ancient stones and helter-skelter mounds
of this hallowed place.
Who is buried here?
What dark-skinned family climbed the long, lamenting hill
into the woods
protected by Jesus, for just a moment left to themselves?
How did they steal an hour or two
for this hallowed day of farewell to the dead,
finding an unmolested path safe for their black skin?
One can hardly walk today, the ground is so jumbled,
where, one upon another, the generations
were welcomed upward to the holy realms.
Some came with enough for a name on a granite slab,
a date or an epitaph.
And who placed the ragged, natural stones,
proudly standing upright over centuries?
Here are those who came enslaved
and died servants still.
A farmer, a laborer, a maid,
beloved in the hearts of family and friends,
anonymous as these standing stones
in the unmoving world around, so hard, so cold.

Annelinde Metzner
March 2008

(Photos by Patty Levesque)

Click here to read about the work of China Galland in resurrecting "Love Cemetery" in Texas.   Watch the video exploring "our collective shadow."

Southside Cemetery in Asheville, NC