Dear Ancestor…

I have this strong sense of connectedness with my ancestors. Sounds a bit weird and morbid, but I can’t help but wonder what similarities I have with them. Whether I look like any of them, how they grew up, how they lived, what their passions were, what made them tick, what they hated, what they loved… I found this poem, which I feel encapsulates how I feel about them;

Your tombstone stands among the rest
Neglected and alone
The name and date are chiselled out
On polished marble stone
It reaches out to all who care
It is too late to mourn

You did not know that I exist
You died and I was born
Yet each of us are cells of you
In flesh and blood and bone
Our blood contracts and beats a pulse
Entirely not our own

Dear Ancestor, the place you filled
One hundred years ago
Spreads out among the ones you left
Who would have loved you so
I wonder how you lived and loved
I wonder if you knew
That someday I would find this spot
And come to visit you

–  Walter Butler Palmer


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