I wandered through the ancient stones
   when by a mossy stump
freezing, I turned my aching bones
   to ponder this strange lump.

The markers all around the place
   were crumbled, old, decayed,
but for the worst of any case
   I’d care to be delayed.

A story I was sure to find
   if any part stayed true;
if history would then be kind,
   I’d learn the tale anew.

So wiping, scraping, in the mud
   I pulled the moss away,
and then I learned that my own blood
   below my feet did lay.

Son of Michael, the surname read,
   and I Michaelson too.
I knew little of who was dead;
   the tales recalled were few.

My fathers’ fathers’ history
   and their fathers’ before
were long ago and lost to me,
   something we all ignore.

And nothing written on the stone,
   nothing there etched, revealed
the history I would have known.
   The past to me was sealed.

So rising from the hallowed ground,
   I turned my corpse away,
and on, my tired path I wound,
   knowing there’d come my day.

I thought then how I’d like to know
   something may pause awhile,
something perhaps that I did sow.
   If so, then dead, I’d smile.


  1. In its rough form I thought not much of this–partly my poor understanding of (other people’s) poetry/verse. Now you have improved it significantly; now I get better what the “tale” says.

    –by the way: Ps 90: 9: For all our days are passed away in thy wrath: we spend our years as a tale that is told. “But don’t thank me; here’s somebody ELSE who wants to thank you!”


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