Friday, November 05, 2010

Poem for Friday, Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, 'The Reader'

The Forgotten Grave
By Austin Dobson

A Sketch in a Cemetery

Out from the City's dust and roar,
You wandered through the open door;
Paused at a plaything pail and spade
Across a tiny hillock laid;
Then noted on your dexter side
Some moneyed mourner's "love or pride;"
And so,—beyond a hawthorn-tree,
Showering its rain of rosy bloom
Alike on low and lofty tomb,—
You came upon it—suddenly.

How strange! The very grasses' growth
Around it seemed forlorn and loath;
The very ivy seemed to turn
Askance that wreathed the neighbor urn.
The slab had sunk; the head declined,
And left the rails a wreck behind.
No name; you traced a "6,"—a "7,"—
Part of "affliction" and of "Heaven;"
And then, in letters sharp and clear,
You read—O Irony austere!—
"Tho' lost to Sight, to Mem'ry dear."


I meant to post that poem before Halloween, and I deliberately saved photos from Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in New York to post too, but I forgot all about them until tonight, augh! It's just as well though because I don't have a lot that's exciting to report from my day, since I've been fighting off a migraine for two days now which was NOT helped by 1) my hormones, 2) the weather swings and recent nonstop rain, or 3) waking up in the middle of the night to find the clocks flashing and having to go downstairs to look at the wall clock so we could reset the alarm clocks to wake us again a couple of hours later. Plus the left button on my mouse stopped working, and although Dell's online help promised to send a new one, they still haven't sent the e-mail confirming this. I ended up having to take a nap, though at least I also managed two miles on the treadmill which works better for relieving headaches than most drugs. $%!# My Dad Says helped too, because when a character watching Jeopardy on the show asks, "Who is Xena, Warrior Princess?" just before the correct answer is given as, "Who is Golda Meir?", I cannot help laughing my ass off. And Nikita did an entertaining job riffing on Anna Chapman and Chandra Levy plus the sleazy power-brokers in their lives, making the episode quite timely.

Here is the Boock family plot at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery.

In use since the mid-1800s, many major authors, industrialists, and inventors are buried at the graveyard.

But of course the cemetery is even better known for its association with the Headless Horseman.

This is the Rhinelander Mausoleum.

Here is the Blaine Monument.

The impressive Archbold Mausoleum is near William Rockefeller's enormous grave site.

There is also a contemporary mausoleum recently completed on the cemetery grounds.

But it's the military plots, the old Dutch burying ground, and the simplicity of Andrew Carnegie's grave that I found most haunting.

My laundry-folding film for the week was The Reader, which is extremely well-made and just as infuriating to me as the book...perhaps more so, because I like Kate Winslet and the fact that she played Hanna made the character that much more sympathetic to me, which I find abhorrent because I think the book lets Hanna off far, far too easily from judgment by Michael and everyone else. (I generally avoid books and movies about the Holocaust -- usually I either feel manipulated, as I did by Sophie's Choice, or I feel like the events are inadequately represented, like A Shayna Maidel, and in either case it makes me angry, so anything negative I say about The Reader should be taken in that context.) I thought the casting and overall tone of the movie were terrific and I actually found the Jewish characters more memorable than in the novel, which is all to the good, but I agree with all the critics who said it encourages stronger identification with the perpetrators of war crimes than with their victims (I can excuse Michael's shame and naivete, but Hanna's is simply revolting).

No comments: