monday verse: when I am dead, my dearest



When I am dead, my dearest,
Sing no sad songs for me;
Plant thou no roses at my head,
Nor shady cypress tree:
Be the green grass above me
With showers and dewdrops wet;
And if thou wilt, remember,
And if thou wilt, forget.

I shall not see the shadows,
I shall not feel the rain;
I shall not hear the nightingale
Sing on, as if in pain:
And dreaming through the twilight
That doth not rise nor set,
Haply I may remember,
And haply may forget.

When I am dead, my dearest by Christina Rossetti

Apologies for the slightly sombre tone this week, but I do love this poem by Christina Rossetti. Traditional British churchyards, with crumbling tombstones, overgrown grass, and brooding yew trees, are one of the more unexpected things that I miss in France. Here cemeteries tend to be barren and gravelled, and bedecked with artificial flowers and photographs of the departed. One of those strange and unexpected cultural differences.

This particular example is to be found in Aysgarth, in the Yorkshire dales. The churchyard is a large one, and sheep graze amongst the headstones to keep the grass down. I can’t help feeling that Rossetti would have approved.

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