A sprig of jasmine in a water bottle – a walk round Scicli Cemetery

The gardens I remember the most aren’t always where I expect to find them. On our holiday in Sicily last week, we stopped the car to walk round this massive cemetery. From the road it looked like a row of beach huts so we wanted to know what it was like inside…

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But inside it was the care taken by the cemetery gardeners and families to make the place beautiful that was particularly moving, often it was the smallest, gentlest planting that made us stop and think. This was so much about love.

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As was the way the silence was broken by birds singing loudly and enthusiastically in the surrounding trees…

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So here’s the poem I wrote there. I think I can safely say it’s the first poem I’ve ever written in a cemetery…

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Watching my husband text at Scicli Cemetry

So many roads of the dead to walk down.

I try to hear all their voices but listen

to the birds instead, their small but constant

conversation. Sometimes, in an effort

to make this a heavier memory, I rest my hand

on a gravestone, see a small child’s angel

wrapped in the shadow of a grandmother’s

cross, hope the proximity of a footballing dad

with the teenage cyclist is deliberate,

the fresh wild flowers amongst dusty

plastic roses, a sprig of jasmine

in a water bottle, yews, more yews.

Would I want to be with my mother’s family,

or rest in my husband’s crypt?

My children – no, they’ve no place here,

and I’m at the crossroads looking down

at so much love, so much hope,

when I catch him, my partner in life,

and yes, death too, bent over his phone,

as if any of it really mattered

when our lives are so free, being temporary,

and he’s laughing at a joke that I know

he’s already planning to tell me later,

and still, still, the birds sing on.

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5 thoughts on “A sprig of jasmine in a water bottle – a walk round Scicli Cemetery

  1. A lovely post and a beautiful poem. This, “when our lives are so free, being temporary”, is perfect – simple and profound.

    I hope the rest of your trip was as fabulous and companionable!

    xo Deborah

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