At Copp’s Hill Burying Ground in Boston

Stephen Gibson Click to read more...

sgibsonStephen Gibson is the author of several poetry collections: The Garden of Earthly Delights Book of Ghazals (Texas Review Press), Rorschach Art Too (2014 Donald Justice Prize, West Chester University),  Paradise (University of Arkansas Press, 2011), Frescoes (Lost Horse Press book prize, 2009), Masaccio’s Expulsion (MARGIE/Intuit House book prize, 2006), and Rorschach Art (Red Hen, 2001).   His most recent is Self-Portrait in a Door-Length Mirror (University of Arkansas Press, 2017).

The Death’s Head turned into an angel
over time, its crossbones into wings—
side-by-side, you see it with this girl.

“Here lyes buried the body of Rachel”
(her headstone used for a crayon rubbing),
the Death’s Head turned into an angel.

Her parents hoped death was a brief spell,
like sleep, to be followed by awakening—
side-by-side, you see it with this girl.

She died at twelve—not nearby Samuel
who experienced King Philip’s War’s suffering:
his Death’s Head later become an angel.

I’m a lapsed-Catholic, but believe in symbols.
My lifetime? Two kids, five wars (still counting)—
side-by-side, you see it with this girl.

So this is my Gray’s “Elegy,” this villanelle
(different churchyard, while vacationing)—
the Death’s Head turned into an angel.
Side-by-side, you see it with this girl.

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