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A is for All that is Mortal of Joel Berry. And an Anchor. (A to Z Challenge)

The remains of Joel Berry rest at Oak Hill Cemetery in Newnan, Coweta County, Georgia.  His tombstone bears the carving of an anchora symbol of hope.

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In Memoriam
Beneath this Stone Reposes
All that is Mortal of
Joel Welcome Berry
,
Born in Newnan, Geo. May 22, 1840;
Died in New York City Jan 12, 1869.
A Son of Andrew J. & Eliza Emily Berry.

There is no "Death!"
What seems so is transition;
This life of "mortal" breath,
Is but a suburb of the life Elysian,
Whose portal we call Death.

Those last five lines are from a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, titled "Resignation." The entire rhyme is 52 lines, but definitely worth a read if you are so inclined (just after the ad).



Resignation

THERE is no flock, however watched and tended,
But one dead lamb is there!
There is no fireside, howsoe'er defended,
But has one vacant chair!

The air is full of farewells to the dying,
And mournings for the dead;
The heart of Rachel, for her children crying,
Will not be comforted!

Let us be patient! These severe afflictions
Not from the ground arise,
But oftentimes celestial benedictions
Assume this dark disguise.

We see but dimly through the mists and vapors;
Amid these earthly damps
What seems to us but sad, funeral tapers
May be heaven's distant lamps.

There is no Death! What seems so is transition;
This life of mortal breath
Is but a suburb of the life elysian,
Whose portal we call Death.

She is not dead, – the child of our affection, –
But gone unto that school
Where she no longer needs our poor protection,
And Christ himself doth rule.

In that great cloister's stillness and seclusion,
By guardian angels led,
Safe from temptation, safe from sin's pollution,
She lives, whom we call dead,

Day after day we think what she is doing
In those bright realms of air;
Year after year, her tender steps pursuing,
Behold her grown more fair.

Thus do we walk with her, and keep unbroken
The bond which nature gives,
Thinking that our remembrance, though unspoken,
May reach her where she lives.

Not as a child shall we again behold her;
For when with raptures wild
In our embraces we again enfold her,
She will not be a child;

But a fair maiden, in her Father's mansion,
Clothed with celestial grace;
And beautiful with all the soul's expansion
Shall we behold her face.

And though at times impetuous with emotion
And anguish long suppressed,
The swelling heart heaves moaning like the ocean,
That cannot be at rest, –

We will be patient, and assuage the feeling
We may not wholly stay;
By silence sanctifying, not concealing,
The grief that must have way.


Are you wondering what's up with all the "letter" posts? I am participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge (links to official page). This challenge lasts through the month of April, with Sundays off.  Each day follows a different letter prompt, in order, from A to Z.  Click here to see all my letter posts on one page (in reverse order). This blog as a whole is one of my themes – telling the tales of tombstones, primarily from those found in the Southern United States and usually the State of Georgia.  You may follow along with me by email and other social media platforms listed at the top of the sidebar.  I and other bloggers in the challenge on Twitter will also be using #atozchallenge.

Though this is my second year in the challenge, it's my first with two blogs.  I am also participating with Lincecum Lineage.  Though it is a one name study blog, my theme there is "kinfolk direct." These genealogy and family history posts all involve a direct relative.

Are you participating in the challenge, too? Please leave a link to your blog in the comments, I'd love to pay you a visit.  Good luck to all involved!

Comments

Janet Miles said…
Great start! Looking forward to seeing your interesting take on the alphabet.

A is for Adele
Shwetha said…
A Wonderful start :)
Mommy said…
Beautiful poem. I look forward to reading more.

-DorkyMomDoodles
Karnika Kapoor said…
Beautiful post! The tombstone with anchor craving is quite profound, seemed like poetry in itself. You mentioned it as a symbol of hope, I think it can also be interpreted as a resting place.
Best wishes!
Lisa said…
Great post! Thanks for visiting and commenting on my blog. There is a really cool cemetery in Birmingham, AL and in October they have an event where people dress up as the person (in the grave) and they tell the history of that person and tie it in with Birmingham historical events. Here is the link to the cemetery
http://www.oakhillbirmingham.com/about_us and here is my blog from 2013 about our visit. I've been another time since then - either 2016 or 2015 - and it was equally as interesting!
http://lisa-musingsofamiddle-agedmom.blogspot.com/2013_10_01_archive.html
Margaret said…
Fantastic post! Older tombstones always fascinate me. Who was the person? What sort of life did they lead? What caused their death? So many possibilities. As a fiction writer, it can be overwhelming to think about but it's great all the same.

Thanks for sharing!
Thanks to all who have stopped by and commented!

Karnika, I think the interpretation of an anchor as a resting place is spot on!

Lisa, I'm off to visit your Birmingham Cemetery posts. I've known of several cemeteries providing local history events like that, and I love them.
Deb Atwood said…
So glad to see your post (and I just followed you on Twitter). Like you, I adore cemeteries and cemetery symbolism, and I'm a quilter. Do you know Tui Snider (tuisnider.com)? She is a cemetery researcher, too.
Thanks for pointing me to Tui, Deb!
Pamela Wright said…
Love your posts as I'm a sucker for graveyards and you share such fascinating facts. Love the poem. Great start to the month, lets hope we both survive with our sanity intact.

Days of Fun
This will be a fav of mine to visit. I love visiting cemeteries and checking out the old gravestones. I often dragged my kids through Ga. cemeteries when they were small, that was vacation. LOL
jeanne
I hear you, Jeanne! A vacation is not complete without a visit to a cemetery. (At least that's what my family knows now.) :-) Thanks for dropping by.
Sara C. Snider said…
What a lovely tombstone and poem. I've always been fascinated by tombstones and cemeteries. Which, as a kid, made me feel like an odd duck when no one else ever wanted to go check out that graveyard over there... ;)

A to Z 2017: Magical and Medicinal Herbs
I know what you mean, Sara. I've been the "odd duck" for so long, though. People now want to tell me about cemeteries they've seen that I should visit and tell them about!
Tui Snider said…
What a lovely anchor! Glad to be reading your A to Z posts - even if I am a year late! Good idea to repost them. I'll be back. :D

Tui Snider, dropping by from the A to Z Challenge
Understanding Cemetery Symbols from A to Z

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blog.SouthernGraves.net

The hand of the Lord came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones. Then He caused me to pass by them all around, and behold, there were very many in the open valley; and indeed they were very dry. And He said to me, "Son of man, can these bones live?"

So I answered, "O Lord God, You know."

Again He said to me, "Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, 'O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord!' Thus says the Lord God to these bones: 'Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live...'" (Ezekiel 37:1-5, NKJV)