In a Disused Graveyard
The living come with grassy tread
To read the gravestones on the hill;
The graveyard draws the living still,
But never anymore the dead.
The verses in it say and say:
“The ones who living come today
To read the stones and go away
Tomorrow dead will come to stay.”
So sure of death the marbles rhyme,
Yet can’t help marking all the time
How no one dead will seem to come.
What is it men are shrinking from?
It would be easy to be clever
And tell the stones: Men hate to die
And have stopped dying now forever.
I think they would believe the lie.
My take –
In Frost’s poem, the narrator doesn’t want to be reminded of death. But the gravestones in graveyard are a constant reminder of death. The stones are saying — in their inscriptions — that “Tomorrow dead will come to stay.” The narrator, in his spite, wants to play a trick on the stones and tell them that the reason why this graveyard is dead is because people have stopped dying. And he believes that the stones would believe him because they have not seen dead people arrive in this graveyard.
We are like these stones. Forgetful. We tend to forget death. We tend to be living in a dead graveyard. We are as stupid as the stones. We are gullible. In the gaiety of the living days, we forget that death will ever come. We are sure of something that will not come to pass.
We are like dead graveyards. Because we have not seen death ourself, we tend to ignore it. If someone would tell us that death does not happen anymore, we would probably believe them.