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Posts Tagged ‘cemetery’

OK, it’s not really a totem pole, but I was afraid the word kopjafa wouldn’t ring any bells with readers.

Today at church we dedicated a wooden pole that was carved by the minister of our sister church in Transylvania when he visited Massachusetts last year.

A translated Wikipedia entry says that, originally, two kopjafa poles were to used to carry a coffin to a cemetery. The poles were then placed at the head and foot of the mound. But according to my minister, nowadays kopjafa poles are set outside churches and, as in our case, sometimes given to a partner church.

The minister read the poem below as he spoke about our church’s connection to Transylvanians of the (almost) same religion. The subject is a little sad for what we do at Suzanne’s Mom’s Blog, but it fits with our previous discussions about the value of preserving language and customs in minority communities. (Hungarian Transylvania was handed over to Romania after World War I, and has had some challenges, starting with language challenges.)

“Leave, if you can …
“Leave, if you think,
“That somewhere, anywhere in the world beyond
“It will be easier to bear your fate.
“Leave …
“Fly like a swallow, to the south,
“Or northward, like a bird of storm,
“And from high above in the wide skies
“Search for the place
“Where you can build a nest,
“Leave, if you can.
“Leave if you hope
“Against hope that homelessness
“Is less bitter abroad than at home.
“Leave, if you think
“That out in the world
“Memory will not carve new crosses from
“Your soul, from that sensitive
“Living tree.”

Read about the poem’s author, Hungarian poet Sandor Remenyik, here.

Transylvania-kopjafa-at-sister-church

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Being in the middle of an earthquake just now (a baby one), I got the urge to post about a cemetery.

Peter DeMarco wrote in the Boston Globe a while back about a lovely dance performance in the famed Mount Auburn Cemetery.

“The 100-member cast of ‘A Glimpse Beyond: A Unique Celebration of Life and Death’ leaves no one out: dancers, musicians, poets, puppeteers, sopranos, jazz singers, gospel choirs, and actors — some garbed as masked ‘spirit owls,’ others portraying the recently departed — join to make audiences ponder what lies ahead in the great beyond.”

According to DeMarco, the show was designed so that audience members could walk along, following the narrative as it unfolded “across the various graves, groves, and lush contours of America’s first garden cemetery.”

Bree Harvey, the cemetery’s vice president of external affairs, told the reporter that the performance was suited to Mount Auburn because “ ‘it’s a place of peace and tranquility, a place to commemorate the dead and console the bereaved and celebrate the lives of those buried here.’ ” More.

“Glimpse” reminds me of “When the Saints Go Marching in” and the New Orleans jazz parades that commemorate a life.

Back to the earthquake: John retweeted  prompt info from @NewEarthquake on twitter: “4.5 earthquake, 6km SSW of Lake Arrowhead, Maine. Oct 16 19:12 at epicenter.” It took NewEarthquake only four minutes to report. In case you haven’t gotten into twitter yet, it is truly the place to go for breaking news.

Photograph: Pamela Joye
“A Glimpse Beyond: A Unique Celebration of Life and Death” brought a 100-member cast onto the grounds of Mount Auburn Cemetery

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