Sunday, July 15, 2012

The big sleep and restless thoughts

At Mountain View Cemetery this morning, but not for personal reasons.



Fifty years after I'm dead, I'd be mighty chuffed if someone left fresh flowers on my grave.



We don't charge by the letter, so let's give this chap the whole lovely quote:

Break, break, break,
On thy cold gray stones, O sea!
And I would that my tongue could utter
The thoughts that arise in me.

O, well for the fisherman's boy,
That he shouts with his sister at play!
O, well for the sailor lad,
That he sings in his boat on the bay!

And the stately ships go on
To their haven under the hill;
But O for the touch of a vanished hand,
And the sound of a voice that is still!

Break, break, break,
At the foot of thy crags, O sea!
But the tender grace of a day that is dead
Will never come back to me. (AL Tennyson)



And here rests a mystery. Here Rests Margherita. Born in Palermo 1880. And the last line: "Rapita Allo Sposo 1906." She Kidnapped the Groom.

23 comments:

  1. I tried to google it but no luck. Hmmm. Was that the day she died? Was she a nun? A bride of Christ taken back to heaven?

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  2. You can find some pretty funky stuff on gravestones. You passed your reporting class.

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  3. Fascinating post! Old cemeteries are so interesting to walk through. When I ran that line through Bing translator, it said, "Abducted To The Groom". Margaret might be right, that she was a nun, or preparing to be a nun. She was just 26 years old.

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  4. How beautiful the Tennyson--thank you.

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  5. This would be a strictly day time excursion for me, KB. I'm not great with cemeteries. I echo Desiree's thanks. And while I like the nun theories, I wonder if the bride tossed her bouquet a little too vigorously at Margherita's head for kidnapping her husband-to-be.

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  6. Our one and only cemetery in our city is gorgeous!. I love photographing it... They keep the grass so well maintained... A lot of history there. One gripe is that they no longer allow the families of the interred to add personal touches... Some have gotten creative and hung wind chimes in the trees..The personal touches were in good taste and showed the love of the families...

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  7. Love graveyards.

    Most days I make a point of walking through a local church graveyard on the way to buy my lunch.

    Reading those headstones is a reminder to treasure what you have, and of 'Carpe diem'.

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  8. I have another thought about the last gravestone. There might be a very sad story here.

    I think 'Rapita allo' means 'Kidnapped by.' I also think the age of 26 is pretty old for a woman to have been kidnapped in Palermo back then. I think the marker is telling us three things, one, she was born in 1880, two, she was kidnapped by the man who became her husband, and three, she died when she was 26.

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  9. "Kidnapped by" -- yes that makes more sense. And I do agree 1906 is the year she died. Do you suppose the groom is death?

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  10. No. I'd say "sposo" means husband. It's so much like "spouse." I think there's a good chance she died in childbirth or from some disease going around.

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  11. No, I meant poetically -- her husband was death.

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  12. you were stomping around some of my ancestors Karin. Looks like you found some of the more interesting stones.

    According to my spouse, "alla" would mean SHE kidnapped him. "dalla" would mean he kidnapped her. Apparently, her mother-in-law didn't take kindly to her stealing her son and thankfully died soon after that?!?!

    There used to be in MVC, a stone out in the eastern 40, that stated a name, then "he's dead, GOOD!". Which brings to mind the old story "my mother always taught me to speak good of the dead, so I always say 'she's dead, GOOD!' ".

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  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  14. hmmm - guess my suggestions led to a "dead" end? or should I look forward to the resurrection?

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  15. Oh, I like that version, AH - kidnapped by death.

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  16. I like that it's left open to interpretation. Maybe I'll invent something mysterious for folks to find on my tombstone in the future. "Fate stole her soul when she wasn't looking" is better than "She fell off a curb in front of a garbage truck."

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  17. Nope, PA, just soaking up some atmosphere for a Patch piece tomorrow. I took Trish's suggestion.

    As for Margherita, maybe one of her descendants will tell us. A year or so ago, when I posted a head stone from the Sierra Madre cemetery, a relative came forward and told us a heartbreaking story. So it's possible.

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  18. I'm sure Margarhete's will be a good story. My dearly beloved has great family stories, like Uncle Walter who was cut down in the prime of life at 92 when he stepped off the curb in front of a milk wagon, after the cataracts got too thick. Great stories to be found in cemetaries.

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  19. Yeah, death as kidnapper. I like that. Of course, husband as k. works too.

    Haven't been to that Tennyson in many years. Thanks.

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  20. It pays to have a famous Italian photographer as a facebook friend. Here's Fabrizio Zanelli's word on the subject:

    Yes, it's an old and emphatic way to say that she died quite young (as she was) leaving alone her husband. Thanks to my dictionary I presume that the follow sentence could be the exact way to say it in English: "she has been snatched away by death."

    Much better in Italian, don't you think?

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  21. Oh, that's so interesting - and poetic, too.

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  22. Very interesting stuff. My mom always said she wanted "I told you I was sick!" on her headstone. She didn't get it...
    That last one is awesome. The headstone and the story (or myster).

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  23. I'm late but so glad to be catching up. It's wonderful how this mystery unfolded in the comments. The Italian version is so poetic. Both my grandfathers were from Palermo. Sure wish I'd learn to speak the language.

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