The Baystate Objectivist

The Baystate Objectivist

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Grave

In Search of Emily Dickinson

As Geocities heads into the sunset, I'm tranferring things from my archives to this blog. The following chestnut was originally published after the first time I went to the grave of Emily Dickinson and tells about how I found it.



Everywhere you look in Amherst you see references to Emily Dickinson, the poetic genius who lived in town in obscurity but who after her death left behind a collection of poetry that caused her to become one of the most famous names in American literature.

But where exactly is the old girl now?

Some friends and I decided to go in search of her grave. The only facts we knew was that she was buried in Amherst, and that the town's modern day commercial district has grown up around the cemetery, concealing it from view. Therefore we started our search by heading downtown.



Unfortunately, a casual glance at the downtown buildings reveals no clues. Then suddenly we stumbled upon this sign, referring to a historic renovation project involving the cemetery, standing at the entrace to this alley leading to a parking lot.



Look! There's the cemetery gate at the end of the alley!



Going inside, we felt like we had passed through a portal into another century.



Wow, this place is huge! So where do we begin our search?

I had read newspaper accounts about a gate to the grave that had been stolen years ago but recently been recovered. Therefore we at least knew that the grave, wherever it was, was surrounded by a fence. Therefore I concluded that if we examined every fenced grave in the boneyard, one of them had to turn out to be Miss Emily's. Hey, just call me Sherlock fuckin Holmes! I quickly spotted such a gated grave and so we investigated.




It turned out to be a monument to a family whose members died way back in the 1830's. One of them actually served in the Revolutionary War! The gravesite was in sad shape, with the stone faded, the fence half missing and all rusty. Guess there are no relatives left to preserve it.

Then I spotted another gated gravesite a ways down this country lane.



And boom, there it was - the enclosed entranceway to the hallowed ground serving as the final resting place of the poetic visionary!



We then encountered the grave of Dickinson herself. The stone and gravesite was covered with shells, rocks, coins and notes. One note was written in Japanese. Another was written in a childlike hand that read, "I love you Emily."



In subsequent years I've preserved some of the messages I've discovered left at the grave of Emily Dickinson. For example, here's a cute one.



This is the most pathetic. At first I thought it was just a piece of trash.



But when I turned it over I found the following:


Though I never
knew you, you've
become a good
friend. I don't
have any living
friends. I'm really
sad and lonely.
HELP ME. Thank
you.


One of Emily's sad poems (she specialized in sad ones) begins heartbreakingly, "This is my letter to the world that never wrote to me." She was a great genius whose talent was ignored in her lifetime. Now today so many people make a pilgrimage to her final resting place that the otherwise lush cemetery lawn has been worn bare in front of her grave.

I guess that's what they call poetic justice.



Pride Pics

Like I said yesterday, I didn't have a chance to see the Gay Pride parade in Northampton. However, ace photographer and radio dude Bill Dwight has some pictures worth stealing, such as this hotboy on a trampoline.



Of course the beloved Kelsey Flynn was onhand.



Psy-gay-delic!



Hamp Mayor Clare Higgins (right) gets kissed by a girl. Sorta.



Different is good.



Springfield Still Sinking

As long as I'm swiping pics, here's one by Bill Dusty of Springfield City Councilor Bruce Stebbins with activist Karen Powell this weekend.



I was disappointed to hear that Stebbens will not only decline to run for mayor but is giving up his City Council seat as well. He says he's doing it for family reasons, but how much do you wanna bet he'll be moving out of Springfield soon? Stebbins withdrawal may leave the heavyweight contenders for mayor as Dom Sarno and Bud Williams. Has the talent pool in Springfield actually gotten that thin? Newcomer David Parkhurst is looking better and better all the time.

Further depressing news - my spies report that former political hack Brian Santaniello took out papers for City Council last week.

New Product

Smith and Wesson is located in Springfield, Massachusetts.

1 comment:

poetess said...

Your visit to Dickinson's grave was very poignant.