Somewhere at the edge of that city of the dead
there is a part where weeds uncontrollably grow,
where there’s chaos caused by a riot of flowers,
shrubs and trees. A ferocious magnificence
in which it is a privilege to wander and muse
at tilted gravestones with nearly faded names.
I remember how we, the first time we were there,
discovered that the place, in terms of surface
and variety, equals a metropole, with new
and older quarters, which are divided into sections
for religion and country of origin, typical to a place
where many nationalities have found a new home.
Celebrities are buried there and people who have
been hardly known. You’ll find mausoleums
for the rich and simple stones for those who had
a lesser share. There’s a field of honour
and as everywhere a sad, small piece of land
for toddlers who’ve hardly tasted life.
Every time we visit Australia you’ll find us
where weeds uncontrollably grow,
at tilted gravestones with nearly faded names,
silent witnesses of lives that once were.
Joke van der Ark
Nr. 765b – 26 August 2015