Land of Ruin

Give me an armless angel
with an eroded face.
Bury me in an ivy-clad
graveyard, where you can let
my grave go untended.
Leave me in a land of ruin.

Don’t you dare deposit
me in a land left flat
for the convenience
of the lawn mower.
Plant a crop above me.
Feed the poor or provide flowers.

On that day of many dusks
when you must let me go,
remember a distant cemetery
near a college football field.
Open a bottle of wine
and remember the stolen
kisses of our youth, the illicit
thrill of a midnight ramble
in a neglected graveyard.

Kristin Berkey-Abbott
May 9, 2011

In response to Dave’s Highgate Cemetery photos. See the post at Kristin’s blog for background and process notes.


  1. Thanks for letting me reprint the poem, Kristin. This got me thinking about all the uses, licit and illicit, to which cemeteries can be put: make-out sessions, seances, acts of desecration, homeless encampments… to which list we should perhaps add tourism.


    1. Very nice… always liked cemeteries, too. We had a huge one behind our backyard, and they are also useful for illegal 4th of July fireworks.


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