This book, "The Dead Do Speak To Us", seemed a strange topic about which to write a book. It is a collection of photos of tombs or statues of the deceased with words of wisdom written or chiseled on them. One, for example, written by Henry King, states,
"Sleep on my love in thy cold bed
Never to be disquieted!
My last good night! Thou wilt not wake
Till I thy fate shall overtake
Till age, or grief, or sickness, must
Marry my body to that dust
I so much love; and fill the room
My heart keeps empty in thy Tomb.
That one says it all, or at least says something. It seems to say that her, the deceased's, slumber in death will not be disturbed until the writer too passes away. And it says he loves her.
This one from AuthorHouse Book Publishing Company, a self-publisher that requires $749 for hardcover and paperback publishing and $349 for E-book publishing. I wonder how many traditional publishers, if any, author Dayton Foster queried before turning to Author House. What I'm actually wondering is if any traditional publishers, who pay you to publish your book, would be interested in the topic of sayings from the dead.
I have, believe it or not, fond memories of visiting some graveyards and emotionally placing myself in the circumstances of those under the stones. But I would not think of writing a book manuscript about those memories or of the stones themselves.
I do find such sites in some way fascinating, and I generally am quiet as I wander about the graves.
Foster, on the other hand, spent 14 years studying old burial grounds throughout the U.S. and Europe, due to a love of history, philosophy, and photography, according to a paragraph called "About the Author."
The back cover states that book contains 333 quotations from "famous people worldwide on life and death." The back cover also states, "The once avoided subject of death is coming alive -- a healthy sign, since -- when we shy away from death, we inevitably shy away from life. These lovely old tombs, inscribed with gems of wisdom, combined with noble thoughts from poets, artists, philosophers, sages, and scholars actually soften the fear of death and encourages living a life of love and giving. And kindles a desire to go soul searching in the beautiful but often forgotten sanctuaries of the dead."
Words in a cemetery, read by just a few or by many, do lead us ahead to that time when our lives on earth end. I sometimes would like to ask question to those who have gone before to their place beneath a tomb. But I can't. Well, I can, but they probably won't answer.
Harking back to my own cemetery wanderings, I think I understand words in the book by deceased Will Hay, "For each of us there comes a moment when death takes us by the hand and says -- it is time to rest, you are tired, lie down and sleep."
Or, as Chief Crazy Horse's epitaph encourages, "It's a good day to die."
Milt Gross can be reached for corrections, harassment, or other purposes at email@example.com.
Milton M. Gross Copyright 2013