Nobscusset Burial Ground, Dennis MA

Nobscusset Burial Ground, Dennis MA

 

The path off the two-lane road is as quiet and straight as an unread sentence.
There are no accidental visits to this ground. You have to ask around

at the lakeside potter for directions, itself a place you have to ask
around to find, and even then you miss the entrance because it’s

nothing more than a shadow between high shrubs and a fence,
and you have to get out of your car and cross the street

to find it, grassy area surrounded by trees and houses yet secluded
just up a rise from the edge of Scargo Lake, whose waves are the soft

clap of a hand on a familiar shoulder. There are no markers of any kind
but everywhere offerings—nickels, beads, feathers woven into star shape,

a wreath of sticks hung atop one of the granite border stones, things made
by hands left at the foot of a tree or placed on a branch, and underneath

the skin of the earth the force of something still vibrating at blood
frequency. Almost four centuries since their sachem, their sagamore,

Mashatampaine, walked over this ground when everyone knew
death was larger than life but here you feel it, there are more

signs of it than there are letters in the spelling of his name, he’s
in the pulse of the pottery made on the other side of the small lake,

the vibration that shivers the calm water just before sunset viewed
from Scargo Tower, the twitch of the fox through the scrub oak

under the cover of dusk and wild blueberry. For a person used
to tombstones and crypts there is something naked here in the pine

needles and piles of coins and cigarettes and offerings. It’s the living
speaking to the living, and the dead are listening, they listen.

ScargoSunset

3 thoughts on “Nobscusset Burial Ground, Dennis MA

  1. Sitting On My Own Sofa

    I read the sentence
    that thought might be unread
    and then I cried
    Where I live things are so much smaller —
    even death —
    than the pulse you took at the water’s edge
    and our pine needles fall on pavement
    and there are meters
    just for reading

    Reply
  2. Jeff Schwaner Post author

    Thanks, SOMOS. I wish I’d taken a photo or two of this place. Since I’ve been a kid I’ve been coming to that area on Cape Cod and never knew of it. But maybe it was the right time to find it.

    Reply
  3. Pingback: Bridgewater International Poetry Festival: Day One | Translations from the English

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