Category Archives: Words/Verses

Welsh Roses

These two stones are located in the Pantdu Cemetery, Cwmafan, Near Port Talbot, Wales.

The gravestone below shows a female hand (lace cuff) holding a single rose. The rose represents love and purity and the brevity of life on earth. Life, like a blooming flower, is never meant to be permanent. The deceased apparently suffered from a long illness before passing on.

In Loving Memory Of / Catherine / Wife Of John Webb / Who Died April 8 1894 / Aged 56 Years

Affliction Sore Long Time I Bore / Physicians Were In Vain; / Till God Was Pleased To Give Me Ease / And Free Me From My Pain.

Also The Above Named / John Webb / Who Died May 26 1915 / Aged 76 Years

For I Know That My Redeemer Liveth

Catherine webb
Source: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/145139093

The following headstone is engraved with three roses, one for each of the deceased. The stone is unusual in that the engraver added punctuation to the legend – not commonly applied.

In Loving Memory Of / Frederick, / The Beloved Son Of / John And Mary Jane Gamlin  / Pontypridd, / Who Died June 18 – 1893, / Aged 9 Months.

Short Was Our Little Darlings Stay, / He Came Just As A Guest, / Just Tasted Life And Fled Away, / To His Eternal Rest.

Also The Above Named / John Gamlin, / Who Died July 7 – 1950, / Aged 80 Years. / Also His Beloved Wife / Mary Jane Gamlin, / Who Died May 21, 1954, / Aged 81 Years.

Reunited.

frederick gamlin
Source: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/111992879/john-gamlin

Both stones were erected in the late 1800s, and yet one appears to have endured much better than the other.

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TICK TOCK CLOCK

The hourglass and the sundial are symbols of time, and as such are often found within the cemetery. However, the perfect allegory for life and death is the clock identifying the passage of time. The clock face is a rare image and appears to have been most common in the late 1700s.

anarmchair
Source: https://anarmchairacademic.wordpress.com/2014/12/31/new-england-graves-time/

Here lies interred the body of / Mrs. Abigail Williams / the Relict of the / Rev M. John Williams of / this place. She died June y / 21st 1754 in the 82d / year of her age

gargoyles
Source: https://gargoylesandgrotesques.wordpress.com/2015/03/15/woodstock-hill-burial-ground-woodstock-connecticut/

Here lies the body of / Mrs. Abigail Paine / Relict widow of / Mr. Samuel Paine. / She died Jan y 13th / 1752 in the 80th / year of her age.

The design of these two gravestones is identical. Note the Memento Mori of crossbones and a pick and shovel. The numbers on the clock face are Roman Numerals. The hands are most often set in a vertical line pointing to 12 and 6. The meaning for this is unknown although a possible explanation is that it represents a dividing line between the earthly life and the heavenly life.

*Relict is an old English term for widow
* Y is an abbreviation of ‘the’

A more recent gravestone still indicates to 12 and 6 o’clock but the numbers are not Roman Numerals, and in the image below according to the engraving, it would appear to have been an actual working clock. My Father’s Clock Placed Here At My Request.

Sleephy Hollow NY

Another modern clock uses Roman Numerals yet it is set to a specific time, perhaps the time of death? You Shared My Dreams For The Future / You Shared My Past / You Were My First Love / And You Are My Last / We Met, Loved And Will Again / Whither Thou Goest I Will Go.

divine
Source: https://www.devinememorials.com/portfolio/grandfather-clock-headstone/

Recto Verso

Marcel Broodthaers, a Belgian poet and artist, who died in 1976, designed his own gravestone located in Ixelles Cemetery, Brussels. Engraved on both sides the front of the stone reveals that he was born and died on the same day and month;  there is speculation that he committed suicide and may have therefore designed his death.

with ref_front
Source: http://withreferencetodeath.philippocock.net/blog/broodthaers-marcel-tombstone-of-his-own-design-1976/

A phrase on the front of the stone, O Mélancolie Aigre Château Des Aigles, (Sour Melancholy Castle Of Eagles) is part of a line from one of Broodthaers’ poems. In 1968, he announced that he was no longer an artist and appointed himself director of his own museum, which he called the Musée d’Art Moderne, Département des Aigles (Museum of Modern Art, Department of Eagles).

The back of the gravestone is a compendium of symbols, and is indicative of Broodthaers’ first solo exhibition in 1964 where he exhibited everyday objects, words, lettering and drawings.

withref
Source: http://withreferencetodeath.philippocock.net/blog/broodthaers-marcel-tombstone-of-his-own-design-1976/

This eclectic mix of symbols is accompanied by letters of the alphabet and the words, Moderato and Allegro which are both music tempos. The phrase Chez Le Droguiste Op Den Hoek appears to be Dutch and translates as, At The Druggist On The Corner.

In 1968 he used thin vacuum-formed plastic signs to create industrial poems with cryptic text and imagery. Academie I was one of those art forms relating geometric shapes to nature.

The clock at the top of the stone differs from similar symbols in that the Roman Numeral XII is outside the clock face. Both hands point to midnight yet one hand is also located outside the clock face.

A bottle, perhaps champagne, is marked with his birth year 1924.

One of his well-known works, Casserole and Closed Mussels, was created from accessible materials and everyday objects including eggshells and mussels. He published a poem on the subject of La Moule in which he described the mussel as a perfect creature which creates the shell which then contains itself.

A tobacco pipe emitting smoke is a reference to a painting, The Treachery of Images, by his friend and famous Surrealist Rene Magritte. It portrays an image of a pipe with the words, This is not a pipe.

The four geometric shapes reflect the 1966 Primary Structures exhibition in New York and Broodthaers’ later pronouncement that there are no primary structures.

And lastly, in the bottom right hand corner is the image of an open book. This reflects his first art object in which he embedded into plaster fifty unsold copies of his book of poems, Pense-Bête.

Drowning Tragedy

John & Jacobina Dotterweich who lived at old Hamburg Turnpike near Green Brook Farm were the parents of nine children. On 13 December 1874, five of the children went out to ride a sled and ventured on to a pond that was not completely frozen. When the ice broke the children were plunged into the water.

In an attempt to save their children the mother and father waded into the water up to their necks and attempted to save the children using a rope. The bodies of the children were pulled from the pond an hour later.

Between 800 and 1,000 people attended the funeral for Caroline aged 16, Augusta aged 14, Maggie age 13, John aged 11, Philip aged 9, and Barbara aged 6 at the Preakness Reformed Church Cemetery, Passaic County, New Jersey.

doterwich78883_f496

Drowning is not so pitiful
As the attempt to rise.
Three times, ’tis said, a sinking man
Comes up to face the skies,
And then declines forever
To that abhorred abode,
Where hope and he part company –
For he is grasped of God.
The Maker’s cordial visage,
However good to see,
Is shunned, we must admit it,
Like an adversity.
~Emily Dickinson~

The Boot Monument

An American Revolutionary War memorial to Major General Benedict Arnold donated by Civil War General John Watts DePeyster is located within Saratoga National Historical Park, New York. Although it commemorates Arnold’s service at the Battles of Saratoga in the Continental Army, his name is not recorded. Arnold’s name became synonymous with “traitor” soon after his betrayal and defection to the British in 1870. The monument therefore serves as a form of ‘damnatio memoriae’: a condemnation of memory where a person is removed from official accounts.

wikipedia arnold-boot

The monument is in the form of a gravestone with a sculpture consisting of the barrel of a cannon from which hangs an epaulette with two stars, a laurel and a boot. It is a symbol of Arnold’s wounded foot during the Battle of Quebec. Further wounds were received at the Battle of Ridgefield when his horse was shot out from under him and at Saratoga when a severe leg wound ended his career as a fighting soldier.

The inscription on the reverse of the gravestone reads,

Erected 1887 By
JOHN WATTS de PEYSTER
Brev: Maj: Gen: S.N.Y.
2nd V. Pres’t Saratoga Mon’t Ass’t’n:
In memory of
the “most brilliant soldier” of the
Continental Army
who was desperately wounded
on this spot the sally port of
BURGOYNES GREAT WESTERN REDOUBT
7th October, 1777
winning for his countrymen
the decisive battle of the
American Revolution
and for himself the rank of
Major General.

Boot monument -back

Symbolism of The Wheat Sheaf

Wheat symbolizes the fertility of the earth, renewal, rebirth and abundance. It can also represent the long and fruitful life enjoyed by the deceased.

To Christians wheat represents the body of Christ, and is therefore symbolic of immortality and resurrection. When paired with grapes it is a symbol of the Eucharist.

It is sown in weakness
It is raised in power

frogsonice
Source: http://www.frogsonice.com/photos/mt-auburn/

Our nails are drove
Our work is done.

frogsonice2
Source: http://www.frogsonice.com/photos/mt-auburn/

The busy world is hushed
The fever of life over and our work done

frogsonice3
Source: http://www.frogsonice.com/photos/mt-auburn/

Till the day break

Wheat lamb

Behold the pilgrim as he lies with glory in his view,
To Heaven he lifts his longing eyes and bids the world adieu.  1886