Milna Cemetery – Dawn

Cloudless sky, calm sea
And silent cicadas.
I walk solitary
Along the stone-banked lane;
Nodding good morning
At black-clad women
Kneeling and crossing themselves
At roadside shrines.
They offer their devotions
To Mary, and obscure ancient saints
With gifts of flowers and olive branches.
And love.

Broken glass glitters
Like pale green diamonds
Outside the cemetery gates.
Within, the dead sleep –
Cool, in their marble beds
Beneath the cypresses –
Peaceful in the clear dawn.
Remembered with gaudy flowers
And guarded by carved angels,
Crosses and staring skulls;
Grim reminder to us all
That we too must return
To dust and bone.

On such a morning
Death seems too cruel.
Too final the denial
Of life's rich beauty
And vitality …
And our inevitable mortality.

In the olive grove
The faint tinkle
Of a distant donkey bell
Breaks the silence.
The first cicada sings.
The land starts to shimmer
As the sun rises higher.
Another day begins.

Carpe diem.

Milna, Brać, Croatia - .2005