Monday, November 7, 2011

Taps




We crawl like quail
In the graveyard
Hide dead quiet

Behind markers
At the foot of the hill
Till Larry finishes

Taps on his trumpet
For baggy mourners
In herringbone overcoats

At home near tombs
And trees, skip
Around blanket-tops

Tip small, pigeon-toed
Between headstones
Not disturbing the slumber

Not stepping directly
On the beds, crouching low
Against cold marble

Avoiding the crunch of leaves



Tess Kincaid


Listen to R.A.D. Stainforth's lovely reading:
(visit his excellent blog Black Dogs here)



Join Magpie Tales creative writing group here.

57 comments:

  1. Dear Tess: "crouching low Against cold marble" "taps" "quail" "hide dead quiet" as children do this, play these soldier games too, in remembrance...

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  2. How wonderful!
    I long to be there.
    :)

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  3. How wonderful!
    I long to be there.
    :)

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  4. This poem sent a delicious chill down my spine, Tess. Great stuff!

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  5. I spend a fair amount of time in cemeteries and find myself apologizing out loud if I misstep on a grave, talking to the dead as I photograph their stones for family members. Strange old lady, tiptoeing around the stones, touching the cold slate and marble, remembering people I never knew. Lovely piece.

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  6. I have lovely memories playing in the cemetery as a little girl, while Uncle Larry, then a teenager, played "Taps" for funerals...

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  7. I like Stainforth's hushed reading...as if he might be standing behind a tree...viewing the scene...

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  8. My maiden name was Moore...haunting.

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  9. Lovely pigeon tip-toeing, making the same V shape as herringbone.

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  10. Haha. I used to have this kind of mentality, not stepping directly on the beds because I might wake the dead! It's a creepy thought. I like the simplicity of your poem Ms. Tess. If you have time please check out mine, it's a sort of goodbye to a ruined friendship.. :(

    A Remembrall


    Joe

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  11. nice...grew upnear a grave yard so i have walked on and even crawled in them...

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  12. Exquisite Tess, photo, poem, all...

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  13. Indeed, a lovely, evocative poem, Tess...brings back lots of memories. I played in the local cemetery, too, and let me say that there was a practical reason for not stepping on the beds, also: one might sink right down!

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  14. For baggy mourners in
    herringbone overcoats

    My favourite lines although I love the entire poem. (And I remember it!)

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  15. I remember my grandmother telling me it was disrespectful to walk directly on the graves...I imagined Mr. So-And-So looking sternly up through the dirt...

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  16. Yes, I was told the same thing...it took some time for me to be able to mow the cemetery without feeling too disrespectful. I have a very vivid imagination, yes, and I have imagined more than one Mr. or Mrs. glaring up at me as if I could disturb their slumber!

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  17. Cemeteries hold a certain significant peace and solitude which I find strangely comforting...a long walk through the graves is one of my favorite things...(queue up Julie Andrews)

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  18. My favourite line? "We crawl like quail..."

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  19. Great description of how most of us act in cemeteries. I don't know if I treat cemeteries like this anymore-I've been to so many, but that's a different story.

    I also love your stanzas. I think that making a new stanza in the middle of a sentence/thought/idea is tricky, but you do it wonderfully.

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  20. you remind me of the way cemeteries are used as places for picnics and such in New Orleans.

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  21. Hide and seek ...cold marble..leaves crunching...love the feel and sounds your words create

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  22. A wonderfully atmospheric piece. Superb.

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  23. Wonderful poem - very visual and free! I've avoided cemeteries my entire life but carry the 'beds' in my head.

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  24. I saw so much here but was especially struck by the herringbone overcoats. Excellent imagery - everything tightly pictured.

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  25. This is just beautiful. For me the best part was the crunch of leaves. It was so evocative and nostalgic at once. Lovely. K.

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  26. I love to walk through cemeteries as well.

    Your poem is really wonderful.

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  27. Excellent.
    And a great reading too.

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  28. Good one - it has just the right feel. Cemeteries are such cool places.

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  29. Lovely Tess. Beautifully written.

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  30. I visited Bonaventure Cemetery not long ago and in order to get the view I wanted, I would of had to step "on top" of the bodies... I couldn't do it! This reads to me as very soothing, not chilling. Tess, if you enjoy historic cemeteries, visit Bonaventure someday... And go way back to the old section by the river... In the Garden of Good and Evil used this for some of its scenes.

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  31. Such nice work...there is just something about a cemetery that evokes so many different kinds of emotions...

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  32. Beautiful, and beautifully written. One is vividy there...

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  33. Tess, your poems always leave me with the feeling I've encountered something wonderful ........

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  34. the small creatures must gaze in wonder at us lumbering folk

    lovely lines

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  35. Taps! of course- enjoyed your take
    with all the details tacking us down.
    Thanks.

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  36. Beautiful (although I love the crunch of the leaves).

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  37. I like the quietness you manage to get into this. Well written.
    Jamie

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  38. You summed it up quite perfectly. Never do I step on their beds. Wonderful!

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  39. How appropriate in this month of remembrance. The quiet, the reverence. The peace.

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  40. I love the imagery of 'baggy mourners in herringbone coats'. Gorgeous, both poem and picture.

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  41. Ah, that first stanza is haunting. There is much crawling in places of grief.

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  42. Wonderful playground..what a rush of precious memories!

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  43. Well played words! Makes one wonder if the watchers are living or dead....

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  44. Wonderful reflective piece, Tess!

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  45. Superb, I heard echoes from my childhood exploits into grave yards! It arouses feelings, but keeps them under tight control.

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  46. Lovely! I felt like a child spying on those "baggy mourners" when I finished reading this...

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  47. I find cemeteries so peaceful. Love to read the stories on the gravemarkers. I think the dead don't mind visitors!

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  48. Ah, hide and seek in the graveyard - the crunch of leaves is a sure give away!

    Anna :o]

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  49. Herringbone overcoats, wow. A blast from the past.

    Did you send my mug, Tess? I never got it.

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  50. oh how brilliant! I do learn a lot from your poetic style always. words n phrases like - taps, crouching low, cold marble, hide dead, quiet, quail etc are so deep that they drive a chill down the spine.

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  51. love the photo. graveyards are such wonderful places. and yes, we do hesitate to step on the blanket tops. the echo of the trumpet is haunting.

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  52. This is glorious Tess.....i have experienced it so many times....your words capture it perfectly. :-)

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  53. I never dared play in a graveyard, but it makes a wonderful poem!

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  54. I can see you there as you hide and play "dead quiet". Nice.

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Inject a few raisins of conversation into the tasteless dough of existence.
― O. Henry (and me)