We are the dead short days ago…
When I was in San Francisco a few months ago, I came across what appeared to be a military cemetery during a walk through a large park. Compared to traditional cemeteries, military ones are characterized by identical white stone tomb markers. In a strange way, I find the symmetry and simplicity of these tombstones profoundly moving. Their repetition and elegance instil in us a sense of order and peace, because that is what we often want – we want to become reconciled to the idea of death, the pain, the violence, and the sadness. And yet, at the same time the uniformity of the tombstones emphasize their great number – they seem to go on for infinity, and we are confronted with the immensity of death.
“There floats out there
The shape that I shall take when I am dead,
My soul’s first shape, a soft feathery shape,
And is not that a strange shape for the soul
Of a great fighting-man?” ~ W.B. Yeats