Saturday, June 20, 2009

Cemetery Gates

A dreaded sunny day
So let's go where we're happy
And I'll meet you at the cemetery gates.

The Smiths

The house in which I grew-up -indeed, the room in which I was born, since I was born in my parents bedroom - faced a large catholic cemetery. On Sunday mornings I'd walk with my dad through the cemetery, taking our dog out for a long run, on towards the park that sat on the other side of the cemetery. Along the way my dad would tell me stories, we'd read the gravestones of the Polish pilots killed during World War 2...

Also, I would receive answers to awkward questions: 'Why do the stones all talk about Mary as The Virgin Mary? What's a virgin?'

Later, during a brief period of adolescent gloom I spent many hours here, so that I could easily relate to Morrissey's lyrics. There was also a memorable New Year's Eve party here when I was 17, and a key scene in the film '24 Hour Party People' was shot here.

So we go inside and we gravely read the stones
All those people, all those lives,
Where are they now?
With loves, and hates
And passions just like mine
They were born
And then they lived and then they died.

Keats and Yates are on your side
But you lose
Because Wilde is on mine

Didn't Keats say of himself, 'His name was writ on water'?
Apparently though, stone is no guarantee of permanence either.

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