'Anything with the power to make you laugh over thirty years later isn't a waste of time. I think something like that is very close to immortality.' - S.K, 'Because I could not stop for death he kindly stopped for me; The carriage held but just ourselves and immortality.' - Emily Dickinson, Ann Evans, Cheer up - you aren't dead yet *beams*, David Parry, Evan Edwards, George Manuel, Hannah Parry, Jane Griffiths, John Evans, Katherine Jones, Richard Bellis, The day of the box
Cemeteries are high on Esme’s list of favourite places to visit (along with The Transgalactic Dutch Pancake House – each offering being the size of Kerberos (one of Pluto’s most fashionable moons), and Burn Everything You Can World); there’s a stillness in such places so thick it slows your step, you may never have tried, but go wild, try and run through a cemetery, the thick waves of aether will make it feel like wading through chilly, slightly runny lemon jelly (not jam all you strange ‘mericanoes, even seedless jam cannot be run through if more than a foot deep, let’s keep it real folks and not descend into lunacy).
On the day of boxes deemed ‘Boxing Day’ by some, Esme was in a particular cemetery in North Wales, a rather tiny one, with very small markers of lives lived, and every single name she read out loud, each stone that had her fingers run across its carvings, its face and edges, burnt a scorching wee light briefly in time; those people, being remembered, being thought of, rose up and showed their immortality, albeit briefly. I hope someone else does the same at some point, I hope someone does it for you. Such immortality is gained in other ways of course, by the written word, by the stroke of a paintbrush, by image, by fable, by love.
Here is a chronicle of that which I found down in the town of Mold:
This is the view across the lefthand side, which had the most graves. Furthest right we see Hannah, wife of David Parry, Headmaster. The date is 1803 and she was 71yrs old so did very well compared to most people at the time I’d say. The poorer you were the smaller the gravestone and less lettering and numbers. Some of them have initials alone, not a figure more.
To the right a long list of such initials, with just the date of their demise, all connected to the Evans family if the inscription below is anything to go by: John Evans aged 70 and Edward Evans aged 14.
Immediately to the left lie the Edwards family, a tragic tale, yet one that burns no less brightly.
Another long-timer! Jane, wife of Sam Griffiths, died aged 81 in 1843. The colours of the lichen against the weathering was absolutely beautiful, so vivid I’ve had to reduce the saturation on some of the photos so the writing can be seen well. To the right lies J.W a silent witness and to the left, I can’t quite make out the name, it begins with a P or R, and the surname is possibly ‘Minor’.
This little one was bowed, however, I leaned underneath and found ‘Katherine Jones 1726’ with a pretty wee carved design above.
This was one of the very few larger stones, and one with an unusual shape. I very much like the ‘Underneath’ at the top. Here be the wordage;
‘Underneath lie the remains of George, son of Ambrose and Susannah Manuel who departed this life December 14th 1831 aged 16 years’. Their daughter Elizabeth died ages 26 yrs and Louisa Jones is scribed down there too, dying aged 28. Life was so much more a fragile entity back then.
There is a small verse too.
‘Why do you mourn my parents dear
or shake at death’s alarms;
Tis just the voice that Jesus sends
To call us to his arms.’
Initials and dates again here, I would draw your attention to the clear sign that Edward and Joseema pop up all over the show, calling to me. The same scene follows from a distance with Rosie’s head getting in on the action as it shows the scale well.
Finally, we have Richard Bellis, died aged 21 in 1831, and important enough to have his occupation inscribed like the Headmaster. The ‘N’ has been impressed backwards by mistake, I’ll bet the carver swore to high heaven and back when he realised! He also appears to have run out of space for the word ‘pain’ and shoved it on the end, hahahahaha.
The script hit home with Esme, and like as not will do with others reading this, he must have been plagued with terrible pain.
Long nights and days I bore grate pain
to try for cure it was in vain
God give me ease he thought it best
he took my pain and give me rest.
Thank you for your words, Richard Bellis.
Despite all the early death recorded here, the place and the visit were neither morbid in feel nor heavy to hold, if anything it lightened Esme’s own wings, for there is love woven throughout there.