The cemetery is a necro-polis, the city of the dead, where, as in the fairy tale, everything is opposite to how it is in life. The shapes of the wooden graveposts, the carvings of the tombstones speak an articulated language, which, however, has no meaning outside the cemetery, and even outside that cemetery. The cemetery is a sculpture park, where each inhabitant of the town, whose life passed in the field defined by the great monuments of the community and power, can finally create one personal monument to himself and his beloved ones. In the cemetery, especially in this region of the world, sometimes whole peoples sink like the legendary defenders of the besieged castle, under whom the earth opened up, and today you will find their memory only here in the cities once populated by them. In contrast to the buildings of the town, in which the living want to preserve something of themselves for the upper-case History, in the cemetery the lower-case history, the yesterdays and days before yesterday spread upon each other, like the fallen leaves, embracing in a last colorful rug just as much past time as living memory is still able to keep.

Cementerio es necro-polis, ciudad de los muertos donde, como en los cuentos de hadas, todo va al revés de como va en la vida. Las formas de las estelas de madera, las inscripciones y tallas de las lápidas nos hablan en un lenguaje articulado que, sin embargo, carece de sentido afuera del cementerio, e incluso afuera de ese cementerio concreto. El cementerio es un parque de imágenes y textos donde cada habitante de la ciudad, cuya vida transcurrió en un espacio definido por los grandes monumentos de la comunidad y del poder, finalmente puede crear para sí una construcción personal, o para sus seres queridos. En los cementerios, sobre todo en esta parte del mundo, a veces pueblos enteros se han hundido como legendarios defensores de un castillo sitiado bajo cuyos pies la tierra se abrió, y ahora la memoria de las ciudades que una vez habitaron solo aquí permanece. En contraste con los edificios de la ciudad, donde los vivos quieren conservar algo de sí mismos para la Historia con mayúsculas, en el cementerio la historia en minúsculas, la de ayer y la de antes de anteayer se esparcen una sobre la otra como las hojas caídas, abarcando en una última coloreada alfombra tanto tiempo pasado como memoria viva sean aún capaces de mantener.

4 comentarios:

MOCKBA dijo...

Speaking of the plants of the city of the dead ... locally, the Navajo believe that snowberries Symphoricarpos oreophilus are the spirits' serviceberries (Amelanchier alnifolia) used for sustenance by the departed ones. When you compare the two berries, it's quite stricking, I should say!

And conversely, European necropolis staples such as morning glories or Sedum spp. belong to the regular garden flower patches here. Maybe something for esteemed Hortus Carmelii to cover?

Studiolum dijo...

H.C. says that at least our native version of Symphoricarpos is slightly poisonous, so Navajos may use it not only to feed the spirits, but also to keep them away…

A good point, about the characteristic plants of cemeteries. We have never especially dedicated attention to it, although it would very much worth the fee. I will recommend it to her.

(An exception is a typical moss widespread in abandoned Jewish cemeteries in Poland and the Ukraine, which gradually eats up the carved/inscribed surface of the tombstone, and which I don’t fail to notice each time.)

MOCKBA dijo...

Couldn't resist adding from Marina Tsvetaeva, then:

Идешь, на меня похожий,
Глаза устремляя вниз.
Я их опускала — тоже!
Прохожий, остановись!

Прочти — слепоты куриной
И маков набрав букет,
Что звали меня Мариной,
И сколько мне было лет.

Не думай, что здесь — могила,
Что я появлюсь, грозя...
Я слишком сама любила
Смеяться, когда нельзя!

И кровь приливала к коже,
И кудри мои вились...
Я тоже была, прохожий!
Прохожий, остановись!

Сорви себе стебель дикий
И ягоду ему вслед,—
Кладбищенской земляники
Крупнее и слаще нет.

Но только не стой угрюмо,
Главу опустив на грудь,
Легко обо мне подумай,
Легко обо мне забудь.

Как луч тебя освещает!
Ты весь в золотой пыли...
— И пусть тебя не смущает
Мой голос из-под земли.

Of cost this Koktebel-vintage verse then brings back to mind the tales of Maximillian Voloshin, and Cherubina de Gabriac, which were menioned but never written up on these pages... oh well

Studiolum dijo...

An extremely fine poem – of course. Its final verses seem to tally with those by Akhmatova translated in this post. I will use it to one of the posts I plan to publish in this graveyard series.

And yes, when are you planning to write the post on Cherubina de Gabriac? or did you rather intend it as an order to me? ;)