As I passed the cemetery, I saw her crying -
A little girl unsuccessfully trying
To stem the rivers that poured from her eyes
As she wailed her sorrow and awful goodbyes.
A bonnet, she wore, and a dress of white;
An almost hypnotic, ethereal sight
To behold as she tried so hard to be brave,
While her tears poured forth, drowning the grave.
I approached her softly, with no little care,
Asking her, comfortingly, if she would bare
Her heart to me - to speak and make clear -
Who lay beneath her and why she was here.
"My darling, stop weeping, and tell me your woes -
Let not the ravens and let not the crows
Make off with your heart and turn it soot-black
With all that you've lost and all you now lack.
Speak of your loss and tell me who lies
Beneath us here and tell me who flies
With the angels in heaven, guarding your soul -
Tell me who lies there in that blackened hole."
She turned and fixed her eyes on me
With an almost surreal sort of clarity;
They shimmered and pierced and with them she bored,
Into my own eyes and into my core.
I took her all in, as white as a sheet -
From her bonnet and stockings to shoe-buckled feet.
"Tell me your name - what do you say?"...
"Anna Elizabeth May."
The name was given through tears that wracked
The whole of her body and despairingly hacked
Away at my heart - what could be done -
To pull her from shadows and into the sun?
"We were close," she continued, "as close as can be,
Now one half's in prison - the other is free.
For years I have come here to this cursed place,
And imagined the rotted and worm-riddled face
That lies now beneath this treacherous soil -
How I do shudder and how I recoil
From that which was once to me so dear;
Hark! Listen close - didn't you hear
The rumbling thunder? the heavens protest
At us for disrupting this body's last rest!
Talk no further - I have told you my all;
I am just a lost and wandering fool."
Her language did strike - it was so mature -
Poetically spoken, it held an allure.
A reminder of times and places been;
Of history lived through and suffering seen.
"Come now, Anna - be gone from this place -
You have emptied your heart and grieved."
"Yes," she replied, "yes, you are right -
Now is the time I must leave."
- - - - - - - - - - - - -
Years have now passed, but I still wake at night,
Tormented by that miserable day:
The girl simply vanished as my eye caught the grave: