Thursday, March 17, 2011

Arriving at "Burial Places"

I started with the idea of posting pieces from people who recently completed a Handcrafted Words workshop—but then I received a letter from a previous participant who had just returned from the Dominican Republic and posted her piece.

At Thai Chili Restaurant

While waiting for our order of Thai food Sue took out a slim book— In My Fashion, "My mother's poetry, she said.

I didn't have time to look at the book before the dishes arrived and we all started to eat and talk.

Later on Sue told me that her mother—Helen Hudson Motulsky, at the age of sixty , joined a writing group, attended writing and poetry workshops, and eventually "became an adjunct writing teacher at Danville Area Community College."

She continued to write poems for the next twenty-six years. Her topics ranged from "Dishes and the Working Wife" How do you write/ about dirty dishes? to contemplation of Burial Places.

Burial Places

Stigler Cemetery
Stigler, Oklahoma

These bones grown old
could go home again,
could find a spot under the maples
in that unfenced ground.

I would know again
the people of my childhood,
names carved now in granite:
parents, friends, neighbors,
teachers, storekeepers.

Their places would form for me
a new map of my small hometown;
their names read from tombstones
my litany of love for all the years.

Angel Hill Cemetery
Havre de Grace, Maryland

From its stone wall on the hill
I saw the Susquehanna as it flowed
into Chesapeake Bay.

I was young and half a continent
from home, a harsher land.
The wide water, arching bridge,
soft hills beyond soothed me then
when the world was at war.

I could be content there,
a dear friend near by,
the river moving through time,
the solace of hills.

Gordan Cemetery
Danville, Illinois

I could rest here
above the season-reflecting lake,
my lodestar now for many years.

The spirit of my gentle beagle
would keep me company along the bluff,
in deep snow, among wildflowers,
when dry leaves rustle underfoot.

I would be sheltered by tall trees,
new-green, full-leaved, autumn-turned,
framed by ancient cedars.

The fishermen would not disturb me.

by Helen Hudson Motulsky


  1. Wow! Thoes poems are wonderful pictures. I am reminded of St. James Cenetery on Boularderie Island. The community of my childhood is gathered there waiting, silently. Sharon

  2. Especially loved Stigler Cemetery. Beautiful, haunting and true. I have always loved cemeteries - strange as it seems - because there it seems time stops - and there is just you, the place, peace, and all those stories begging to be told.