Charles Wesley Emerson Professor and Pulitzer prize-winner Megan Marshall writes about her experiences and thoughts walking through Mount Auburn Cemetery during the past few weeks of social distancing for the online journal of Arrowsmith Press. The cemetery contains the gravesites of historical figures that inspired Marshall’s works, relatives of friends, and one day the ashes of her late partner.
Mount Auburn’s grounds in early spring are barren, sere. The light strikes with cruel intensity, not yet softened by the leaves of shade trees: maple, ash, willow, and oak. A walker here retains, in Wallace Stevens’s phrase, ‘a mind of winter.’ For now, this feels right. But the bloom will come, of virus and vine. So, too, the time to bury my partner beneath these words, from Robert Lowell’s ‘Obit’ — ‘the lily, the rose, the sun on brick at dusk.’